Eye On Boise

WEDNESDAY, MAY 20, 2009, 8:42 A.M.

Idaho has the best … drivers?

According to a new national survey by GMAC Insurance, Idaho drivers are tied (with Wisconsin) for best in the nation in their driving knowledge - performance on the written test for a driver's license. This isn't new drivers; it's existing ones. The annual survey polled 5,183 licensed drivers from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, asking them 20 questions taken from state driver exams. Idaho drivers' average score was 80.6 percent; just 5.7 percent of Idaho respondents failed, scoring under 70 percent. Nationally, 20.1 percent of licensed drivers failed the test. Plus, GMAC found that scores are declining; it's the fifth year of the survey. "We've seen the results ebb and flow, and this year, scores are down," said GMAC executive Wade Bontrager. "Each and every one of us need to continually be brushing up on safe driving practices."

Among the points befuddling the most respondents: Yellow lights and safe following distances. The worst-scoring drivers this year were New York's, who took over last place by edging last year's worst-ranked state, New Jersey. Montana and Utah scored well, ranking third and seventh; Wyoming and Oregon tied for eighth; and Washington tied with Oklahoma for 17th place. Last year's top-ranked state, Kansas, fell to fourth place this year.

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