Bakersfield drivers ranked worst in U.S. due to accident rates, DUIs, speeding citations

July 27, 2022 | Article by Chain | Cohn | Clark staff | Tips & Information

Bakersfield drivers ranked worst in U.S. due to accident rates, DUIs, speeding citations

People in every city always seem to think they have the worst drivers on their roadways, but Bakersfield can lay claim to being No. 1 on the list now, according to a new report on the 70 best and worst driving cities in the nation.

Based on four factors of driver quality — accidents, speeding tickets, DUIs, and citations (running a red light, using a cellphone while driving, and more) — insurance marketplace QuoteWizard analyzed data from six million car insurance quotes from drivers, and found Bakersfield to be the worst driving city.

Bakersfield, the largest city in Kern County, has steadily moved toward the top of QuoteWizard’s worst-driver’s list over the last several years that the study has been conducted, from No. 10 in 2017, to No. 3 last year, and now the very worst this year.

“It’s an embarrassment to our community,” said Matt Clark, accident and injury attorney at Chain | Cohn | Clark. “It’s simple: Slow down, always drive sober, and share the road with other drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians. Taking these steps are the best ways to make sure that you, and everyone else, make it home safely.”

Here’s how Bakersfield stacked against the four factors:

  • Accidents: Bakersfield ranked 8th worst
  • Speeding Tickets: Bakersfield ranked 4th worst
  • DUIs: Bakersfield ranked 1st worst
  • Citations: Bakersfield ranked 8th worst

Several other California cities made the worst-drivers list including Sacramento (No. 2), Los Angeles (No. 4), San Francisco (No. 5), San Diego (No. 6), Fresno (No. 7), Riverside (No. 8), and Richmond (No. 9).

On the other side, the city with the best drivers, according to QuoteWizard, was Louisville (Kentucky), followed by Hartford (Connecticut), and Little Rock (Arkansas).

Chain | Cohn | Clark for many years has followed the problems within our community regarding impaired driving, pedestrian safety, bicycle accidents, and overall motor vehicle crashes. Specifically, Kern County’s roadway issues include:

  • A nationwide study listed Bakersfield as the No. 2 most dangerous metropolitan area in the United States to be a pedestrian. The “Dangerous by Design” study by Smart Growth America found that our streets are designed primarily for the convenience of drivers, and not the safety of pedestrians, among other reasons.
  • Our community has seen at least 4,000 DUI arrests made each year, according to the Kern County District Attorney’s Office – nearly 12 DUI arrests per day. Kern County ranks worst in the state for DUI crashes resulting in injuries, and second most in the United States. And during this pandemic, fatal crash rates have spiked, with speeding, lower seatbelt use, and impaired driving to blame.
  • From 2016 through 2018 in California, more cyclists died in traffic accidents across the state than during any three-year period in the past 25 years.

Insurance experts say the saturation of bad drivers on roadways has the ability to affect how much you pay for car insurance each month. Living in one of the worst driving cities can see your insurance rates go up, while living in one of the best driving cities can help you save money on your auto insurance.

Chain | Cohn | Clark provides a few driving tips below to help you eliminate distracted driving, reduce traffic violations, and keep Kern County roadways as safe as possible:

  • Keep your cell phone on silent, and put in a place where you won’t be able to access it while driving.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and what other drivers around you are doing.
  • If you’re too tired to drive, find a place to stop so you can get rest before driving again.
  • If you need to eat and drink, make sure that you pull over to the side of the road.
  • Make sure that loose items in your car are secured so that they don’t startle you if they fall.
  • Never drive a vehicle if you’re under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Make sure that you have a driver who has not consumed alcohol, or use a service like Lyft or Uber who will be able to take you back to your home safely.


If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, follow these three steps:

1) Obtain the name, address, insurance information, vehicle identification number (VIN) and driver’s license number of any and all persons involved in the accident, as well as the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of all witnesses.

2) Make sure that a report is filed with the police, sheriff, or highway patrol, but do not talk to anyone else, especially insurance adjusters, about the accident or sign anything without first consulting an attorney. Chain | Cohn | Clark offers a free consultation.

3) Seek medical attention immediately and explain to your physician or surgeon all of the symptoms and complaints you have been feeling since the accident occurred.


If you or someone you know is injured in an accident at the fault of someone else, or injured on the job no matter whose fault it is, contact our Bakersfield law firm by calling (661) 323-4000.