Visalia Tops State Best Drivers List

The Allstate Insurance Company has released its ninth annual “Allstate America’s Best Drivers Report,” revealing that Visalia tops all California cities in driving safety with the lowest car collision frequency in the state.

In the 2013 report, Visalia also ranks in the top ten of America’s safest driving cities, landing at number eight. Based on Allstate claims data, the report ranks America’s 200 largest cities in terms of car collision frequency to identify which cities have the safest drivers. According to the report, the average driver here will experience an auto collision once in a little more than every 12 years – more than 18 percent better than the national average of once approximately every 10 years.

“Drivers in Visalia and California’s Central Valley are making great effort toward keeping America’s roadways safer,” said Phil Telgenhoff, field vice president of Allstate Insurance Company in California. “We salute their best drivers and recognize their safe driving skills, which make all of our communities safer places to live, work and raise families.”

But will this salute result in lower rates for Visalia drivers?

“No,” says Jim Klapthor, Allstate’s senior communications consultant. “Allstate’s Best Drivers Report has no impact on insurance rates. It is a reflection of collision data in the specific city. The three largest factors in determining car insurance rates are the annual miles driven, a person’s driving record and the driver’s driving history – how long have they been licensed.”

He explained that survey numbers are based on how many insurance claims are made in a city, not how many claims are made by drivers living in the city. If a driver from Visalia gets into a collision in Fresno, the accident becomes part of Fresno’s data – and vice versa. He noted that Glendale, in L.A. County, does not do well in Allstate’s annual surveys, but that is a result of four major freeways passing through that city.

Klapthor added that the statistics are not a reflection of public safety in a particular area. “If you back into a grocery store lightpost, you don’t call the police, but you do call your insurance company. About 70% of collisions where Allstate is called are ‘low speed’ – someone snaps off their rearview mirror when they pull in or back out of the garage.”

The Allstate America’s Best Driver’s Report was created to facilitate an ongoing dialogue on safe driving that saves lives. This year’s top honor of “America’s Safest Driving City” is Fort Collins, Colorado, the third year the city has held the top spot in the report’s nine-year history. According to the report, the average driver in Fort Collins will experience an auto collision every 13.9 years, which is 28.2 percent less likely than the national average of 10 years.

According to the most recent report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, car crash fatalities increased by more than 1,700 from 2011 to 2012, the first year-to-year increase in fatalities since 2005. While fatalities have increased over the past year, Allstate research found that 70 percent of vehicles involved in auto claims are considered drivable, which indicates that most claims are the result of low speed (under 35 miles per hour) collisions that take place in “stop and go” traffic locations.

“It is vital for us to educate American drivers about safe driving behaviors they can practice on the road that will help make our roadways safer,” said Telgenhoff. “Minimizing distractions, obeying traffic laws and using your car’s safety features like turn signals and headlights are all ways to be safer, no matter where you drive.”

For the past nine years, Allstate actuaries have conducted an in-depth analysis of company claim data to determine the likelihood drivers in America’s 200 largest cities will experience a vehicle collision compared to the national average. Internal property damage reported claims were analyzed over a two-year period (from January 2010 to December 2011) to ensure the findings would not be impacted by external influences such as weather or road construction.

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