Taking issue with rude driving label

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Honk if you’ve heard this already.

Idaho is home to hordes of rude drivers.

So rude, in fact, that one recent study decided Gem Stater Taters are the rudest drivers in the entire country except Virginia, which might take the rude driving cake because of its proximity to D.C.

Before we defend Idaho road warriors, here’s some quick background on the study.

A website that compares insurance quotes, Insurify Insights, tapped a database of more than 2 million insurance applications where drivers disclosed information including past accidents and driving infractions.

Rude driving behavior was defined as failure to yield violations, failure to stop violations, improper backing, passing where prohibited, tailgating, street racing and hit and runs.

For each state, Insurify’s data team calculated the proportion of drivers with one or more of these violations on their record. The states with the highest proportion of those drivers were ranked as the rudest.

In Idaho, 47.5 drivers out of 1,000 were cited for rude driving behavior. The national average was 29.6 per 1,000 drivers. Virginia had 48.5; the most courteous drivers reside in Kentucky, Mississippi and Vermont. All three of those states averaged 17 or fewer “rude” drivers per 1,000.

Certainly, we have all been witnesses to (but never committed ourselves, Your Honor) incidents involving drivers who failed to yield, backed up badly, passed in a no-passing zone, or got way too friendly with the rear-end of our vehicle. Penalty flags in the form of traffic citations were deserved, so in that sense, maybe we do have quite a few rude drivers.

But we submit that better law enforcement could be the culprit in this scenario. Other states, most of them more populous by far, could be getting credit they don’t deserve because their police, sheriff’s offices and highway patrols are perhaps not as vigilant as ours. Maybe these kinds of infractions don’t merit the attention in most states that they do here, where rude drivers stand out like sore thumbs.

Speaking of thumbs, the one area we would concede an Idaho spike in rude driving involves the middle finger. Those are on frequent display whenever motorists are in the presence of a license plate bearing the word CALIFORNIA. However, even that is headed toward a resolution. Within a few years, maybe every Idahoan will have hailed from California.

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