Motorists Beware: Ranking the States that Treat You Worst

Driving in the United States can be hazardous, not only to your health, but to your civil rights and pocket book as well. Because each state treats motorists differently, how well you fare depends on which state you are driving in.

The National Motorists Association released a ranking of states that scores the government-motorist relationship. Twenty-four metrics grouped within five categories — legal protections, regulations, enforcement tactics, state-imposed cost to drive, and state fiscal responsibility — are analyzed and graded.

From a motorist’s standpoint, 100 points represents a perfect score. The District of Columbia, New York State, and Delaware ranked the most hostile to drivers, scoring failing grades of between 25 and 34 points. Wyoming, North Dakota, and Utah occupied the top of the rankings, led by the Cowboy State with 85 points.

The full rankings can be viewed here.




NMA President Gary Biller noted, “Our analysis reveals how fairly a state regulates and enforces traffic laws, how far due process rights extend to motorists in court, how (and how much) revenue is generated from motorists, and how effectively that revenue is applied toward maintaining and improving roads and bridges in the state.  It clearly indicates that there is substantial room for improvement across the board.”

“With close to 200 million licensed drivers in the U.S., motorists represent perhaps the largest special interest group in the country,” added company spokesperson John Bowman.  “They support government by paying billions of dollars annually in the form of state and federal gas taxes along with various other taxes, fees, tolls, and traffic fines.  Yet many states reciprocate by treating motorists no better than a revenue source to plug budget gaps rather than as constituents that government is designed to serve and protect.”

The only perfect category scores were Montana in Regulations (20 out of 20 points), and both South Dakota and Wyoming in State Fiscal Responsibility (15 out of 15 points). The two worst scores in a given category were the District of Columbia in Legal Protections (0 out of 20 points) and New Jersey in State-Imposed Cost to Drive (1 out of 15 points).


Not an NMA Member yet?

Join today and get these great benefits!

Leave a Comment

8 Responses to “Motorists Beware: Ranking the States that Treat You Worst”

  1. seenmuch says:

    if I read this correctly they are giving Kansas a good score?? Are you out of your "*bleeping*" mind???? Kansas needs to be listed among the worst states to have to drive across!!!!

    Have you ever driven on I-70 across this empty flat as a board state?? I-70 is a 500+ mile long dollar generating speed trap where 100 mph would be a little slow on some of it……

    On a good day there are so many KHP collecting toll, fines for ignoring the state's stupidly under posted maximum. There are so many officers running around on I-70 you could walk from one end of the state to the other on their roofs without touching the ground. The stretch west of Salina is one of the worst speed traps in the US.!.!.

    They focus on out of state plates giving two or three max over the under posted maximum. A state that it is in fact safe to travel 100 mph+ from one end to the other on I-70 you will be ticketed for 73 in a 70, 77 in a 75!!!! I hate to drive across this state……

    You spend ~4 hours crossing the "show me" state @ 80 without issue then you get to the border of Kansas…..When it was 70 only a few years back you had better back it down to 71-72 for the next ~ 7 hours, which believe me really sucked……

    I have a friend who was pulled over twice in a 5 mile stretch and ticketed for 74 in a 70 mph zone twice !! I was pulled over for 71 in a 70 once in this stupid state!!

    When it was still 70 max I could cross the region faster with a lot more comfort by going up to I-80 crossing Nebraska running in the low to mid 80s for hours without a problem. EVen with 75 being the law in Kansas they still will not let you run much more than 77 without a ticket!!! You can't tell me that this has one thing to do with safety, It is about $$$$$$$$$$ plain & simple!!!

    Once you finally get to Colorado you can push it back up to 85 mph, the same safe speed that you can safely and should be able to cross this empty state….And you ask anyone that has to cross this state regularly they will give you a similar description…….

    • WOW says:

      You obviously know nothing about the state of Kansas. You sound like an east-coaster who is clearly ignorant of the majority of the United States. You obviously have no regard for safety in general or the environment. The human race would function just fine if everyone drove on the highway and never exceeded the posted speed limit. Your greed for speed and reckless driving habits (clearly assumed from your rant) is disgusting. I'm glad I grew up in Kansas and not wherever you are from. I'm glad I can chuckle at your arrogance and ignorance.

    • seenmuch says:

      NO I am not ignorant, I just call the blatant money grab from drivers doing nothing unsafe what it is a state crossing tax! Innocent drivers just trying to cross your empty state as quickly and as safely as possible are forced to drive slower than they should be a money grab that has nothing to do with what is the safe speed on your state's stretch of our country's interstate system. By the way when the interstate freeway was built across your empty state it had a speed limit of 80 & 85 mph for 1950s era vehicles!!!

      So please explain to us all why going that speed today on freeways that have had 70 years of safety improvements in cars that have had the same time of safety improvements is so ignorant???????

      I will answer the question for you, 85 mph was safe in the 1950s so is plenty safe today on improved freeways in so much safer vehicles today!!!

      The only ignorance here is you believing it is ok for the allowing of your state's budget to be padded by those unfortunate enough to have to cross your empty state……..

    • Eric says:

      When I lived in Kansas 5 years ago they had the best highway system I had ever driven on. Yes it was a toll road bit it was very well maintained and designed.

      I've heard from a friend who fought a few tickets that they also have a court system in which the motorist can actually win.

      I know they do write tickets there but with all my driving I never got one. These factors above undoubtedly factored in to the ranking described here. I've been to many more predatory states where they have much more expensive tickets and impossible odds in court that actually have worse roads. Perspective is in order.

    • Joe Blowe says:

      What I don't get is how in the f**k Utah managed to get into the #3 spot. Those a**holes should have come in dead last!!!! The donut shops are going broke there because all the cops are out trying to make their ticket quota for the month (and I don't want to hear that cops don't have a quota, because they do) by pulling people over and writing tickets, many of which are for anal stupid stuff, and quite a number of which are for offenses that are'nt even codified in Utah or local law!!!! They just make up their own laws as they go along!!!! I've been almost all over the US, with the exception of Alaska, Hawaii, Florida and Rhode Island, and I have never seen the overly aggressive degree of traffic stops by police anywhere else that I have seen in Utah!!!

    • seenmuch says:

      While I agree their roads are well maintained mostly they do not have the same wild temperature swings of some other states where the roads are more broken up. Weather is a bigger factor in the state of Kansas roads than upkeep…And that toll road is well maintained from collected tolls, it is not so cheap to use that road today….

      Then You go into western Kansas where they suffer more extreme weather swings in temps similar to Colorado the state of the roads is not so great.

      But my point still stands, that Kansas has been using I-70 as a ATM tapped off of innocent drivers just trying to cross their empty state doing nothing unsafe or wrong. And that is no acceptable!

      I can cross Nebraska safely & comfortably on I-80 @ 79-83 mph over very similar terrain without the state bothering me. I can cross Colorado's plains on I-76 & I-70 @ 85 mph safely & comfortably without the state bothering me.

      What right does Kansas have to turn it's interstate into a ATM?? I-70 is the only way to travel across this part of the US for 200 miles north or south at high speed. Using it as a ATM holding drivers hostage while making travel miserable and less safe making drivers focus more on where are the KHP hiding than on safely driving across the state…..

    • WOW says:

      I can feel the rage pouring out of you, seen. You keep saying empty like it's a bad thing. First of all, it's not empty. Kansas is full of prairie land and farm land, both of which are much more valuable to the human race than shopping malls and gas stations. You clearly are unable to appreciate the true value of nature. Additionally, as Eric said, Kansas has wonderful roads compared to many states. Also, why are you always in such a hurry? Maybe if you planned better you wouldn't need to drive 80 mph to get to your destination on time. Maybe if you followed the laws of the jurisdiction you're driving through, you wouldn't ever have to worry about speeding tickets and we wouldn't be having this back and forth. I'm glad I can still find your misplaced rage laughable. Makes me smile when I get the opportunity to argue with someone who doesn't know they're wrong 🙂 Have a wonderful 70 mph day!

  2. seenmuch says:

    Hey wow, you keep repeating your non-sense without answering the real question I posed….

    Why was 80 & 85 mph safe and reasonable when these freeways across empty Kansas were built in the 50s & 60s for vehicles of the day but not today in so much safer easier to control and stop vehicles today???????

    Instead of attacking me over & over for pointing out the bad behavior of state of Kansas when it comes I-70, why not give a real answer to the question posed above!!