Traffic congestion

Traffic snarls through downtown L.A. on the 110 freeway. Los Angeles drivers are among the worst in the nation, a survey has found. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times / November 9, 2012)

WASHINGTON -- Congress no longer has sole claim to the dysfunction in the nation's capital -- District of Columbia drivers have joined the fray.

They have been ranked as the nation’s worst drivers, according to an Allstate Insurance Co. survey, which listed D.C. last among the nation’s 200 biggest cities.

Fort Collins, Colo., drivers are the best, taking the No. 1 spot, followed by Boise, Idaho, and Sioux Falls, S.D., according to the report, based on the company's auto collision claims.

Visalia was the top-ranked California city for good driving, coming in eighth nationally, according to the company's "America's Best Drivers Report."

Los Angeles ranked among the worst at 181, behind Chicago, 150, and New York, 172. San Francisco also came in low at 186.

Other California cities and their rankings:  Bakersfield, 56; Palmdale, 60; Lancaster, 61;  Riverside, 110; Pomona, 114; Huntington Beach, 117; Long Beach, 133, and Pasadena, 165.   

AAA Mid-Atlantic spokesman John Townsend attributed Washington’s low ranking to its traffic congestion.  A report earlier this year by the Texas A &M Transportation Institute said Washington was the nation’s most congested area.

"Too many people trying to get too many places and not enough capacity to handle the vast amount of traffic we have here,’’ Townsend told the Los Angeles Times.

The report comes amid a recent federal projection that traffic deaths nationwide rose 5.3% last year from the previous year, the first year-to-year increase since 2005.

The average driver in top-ranked Fort Collins will experience an auto collision every 13.9 years, according to the Allstate report. Nationally, the average driver gets into a collision every 10 years.

The average driver in the District of Columbia will experience an auto collision every 4.8 years. In Los Angeles, it was 6.7 years.

Allstate pointed out that its report was produced "solely to boost the country’s discussion about safe driving," not to set insurance rates.

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Richard.simon@latimes.com