But does the report tell the whole story?
Every year, Allstate Insurance releases its Best Drivers report, which ranks 200 large cities in the U.S. by how likely Allstate drivers are to get into a crash. For the 12th year in a row, the Los Angeles suburb of Glendale sits near the bottom of the list: 195/200 this year, with 190 being the city’s highest ranking in recent years.
According to Allstate, Glendale drivers get into a crash every 5.5 years on average and are 83 percent more likely to get into a collision than the national average. That doesn’t sound like great news for Glendale but, as some experts have pointed out, it’s important not to draw conclusions without looking at the validity of the report.
City questions insurance statistics
The Allstate report seems straightforward, but Glendale has some issues with its findings and interpretation. As city spokesman Tom Lorenz points out, being at the bottom of a list of safe cities is not the same as topping a list of dangerous cities.
The report only includes insurance claim statistics from Allstate policyholders, a fairly small sample of the city’s population. It also measures all insurance claims without considering their severity, so a driver backing into the garage door counts the same as a negligent motorist causing a pile-up.
OTS report draws a different conclusion
Crash statistics from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) back up Glendale’s assertion that its drivers aren’t that bad. In 2014, the most recent year for which data is available, Glendale was compared to 56 similarly sized cities. On this list, a low ranking is actually good news – the lower a city’s rank, the better its drivers.
Glendale was ranked 49th out of 57 for overall collisions, putting it in the top ten for overall crash safety. Glendale ranked 35th in the category of fatal accidents and 51st for crashes involving alcohol.
One area where Glendale does need to improve, according to the OTS? Pedestrian accidents. The city ranked 16th out of 57 for collisions involving pedestrians, and first for crashes involving pedestrians over age 65. With a focused effort on pedestrian safety, particularly for the city’s older residents, Glendale could be a great example for other California cities.