News and Reviews

How does the overall driving experience in Massachusetts compare to other states?

A new report from looked at eight metrics to gauge “driving conditions’’ in the broadest sense. Scott Eisen / The Boston Globe

Massachusetts earned a slightly better-than-average rating in a new report that ranked each state on “driving conditions’’ in the broadest sense.

The report from ranked each state based on factors like how much of a household’s income goes to paying auto insurance, the rate of uninsured drivers, traffic fatalities, road conditions, vehicle repair costs, structurally sound bridges, gas prices and commuter delays.

Massachusetts came in near the middle, placing at No. 21 out of 50 states. Utah earned the highest rank, followed by Minnesota. At the other end of the scale, Oklahoma ranked No. 49 and California ranked No. 50.

Michelle Megna, managing editor of, said the report reveals several “pros and cons’’ about driving in Massachusetts. In terms of pros, the commonwealth has a lot to offer motorists and consumers in terms of safety and affordability.


“Compared to the rest of the country, Massachusetts has average car insurance rates, very low percentage of uninsured drivers and fewer traffic fatalities,’’ said Megna.

And the cons?

“The roads are not in great shape, and there are long commuter delays, but that mirrors what we see in many other states,’’ she said. “So, taken as a whole, that means Massachusetts is relatively affordable and safe, when it comes to driving conditions, though not without its flaws.’’

Here’s how Massachusetts earned its rank:

Annual traffic deaths: This metric counted for 20 percent of a state’s ranking.

Massachusetts and neighboring Rhode Island tied for the lowest rate of traffic fatalities among all the states with a rate of 4.9 deaths per 100,000 people.

Uninsured drivers: The metric counted for 5 percent of a state’s ranking.

Massachusetts can boast the lowest rate of uninsured drivers on the road. According to’s findings, only 3.9 percent of Massachusetts drivers are not covered by insurance. Maine came in No. 2 with 4.7 percent of drivers being uninsured.

On the other hand, in Oklahoma over a quarter of drivers are uninsured.

Commute delay: This metric counted for 10 percent of a state’s grade.

Anyone who’s ever been stuck in New England’s traffic understands just how bad the region’s congestion can get. According to, Massachusetts experiences an average yearly delay of 64 hours per commuter. This is the fourth-highest rate of delays after California, New York and New Jersey.


Bridges: This metric counted for 5 percent of a state’s ranking.

In this area, Massachusetts could stand to improve. found more than half of the bridges in Massachusetts (53 percent) were “deemed structurally deficient,’’ by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Massachusetts had the second-lowest grade for bridge conditions after Rhode Island.

Average annual insurance cost as percent of median household income: This metric counted for 20 percent of a state’s ranking.

The cost of auto insurance in Massachusetts accounts for 3.09 percent of median household income. This rate puts the commonwealth in the middle of all other states.

Hawaii had the lowest cost of auto insurance with an average annual cost of 1.54 of median household income. Michigan had the highest rate at 6.8 percent of median household income.

Roads: This metric counted for 20 percent of a state’s ranking. found 42 percent of roads in Massachusetts are in “poor/mediocre condition,’’ according to the Transportation Department, which puts the commonwealth at No. 15 in this category.

Repairs costs: This metric counted for 10 percent of a state’s ranking.

Massachusetts drivers pay an average of $313 annually to fix their cars due to damage from bad road conditions, placing it on the more expensive end of the scale.


New Jersey had the highest repair costs of $601 while Georgia had the cheapest repair costs of just $60.

Gas prices: This metric counted for 10 percent of a state’s grade.

Average gas prices were determined using AAA’s Fuel Gauge Report as of April 8, 2016. Massachusetts drivers paid an average of $2.03 per gallon, making the commonwealth only slightly more expensive than other states.


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