Mississippi drivers rank low in test

By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – An estimated 34.9 million Americans will hit the road this Memorial Day weekend, but the Mississippi motorists among them might not fare as well.
Mississippi drivers ranked 46th in the nation this week on their knowledge of road rules, according to results of GMAC Insurance’s seventh annual driver’s test survey.
The national automobile insurer quizzed more than 5,000 licensed drivers across the nation. Of the 20 questions taken from state Department of Motor Vehicles exams, the average score was 77.9 percent.
Mississippians scored 74.8 percent. Kansas ranked No. 1 in the nation with an average score of 82.9, while Washington, D.C., placed last with 71.8 percent.
“All drivers need a refresher course when it comes to rules of the road, and it begins with education,” Scott Eckman, chief marketing officer for GMAC Insurance, said in a news release. “We’re hoping this year’s GMAC Insurance National Drivers Test results will inspire drivers to arm themselves with the knowledge they need to stay safe.”
Dorsey resident Derik Pfiffer agrees Mississippi motorists could use some help. Originally from Baltimore, Pfiffer said he was surprised to see how many drivers here speed. He also said many people fail to use their turn signals.
“It’s even worse on Memorial Day weekend, when everyone is out driving and more people are drinking,” he said. “That’s one of the reasons we took our trip early.”
Pfhiffer and his family visited relatives in North Carolina last week and returned in time to spend the holiday weekend safe at home.
But AAA estimates nearly 35 million other Americans will travel between Thursday and Monday despite high gas prices.
“Memorial Day travel experienced a gain of more than 14 percent in 2010, and this year we expect to add slightly to that gain due to an increase in air travel and an improvement in the overall domestic economic picture,” said AAA President and CEO Robert L. Darbelnet in a news release. “Some travelers will compensate for the higher fuel costs by cutting other areas of their travel budgets.”

Contact Emily Le Coz at (662) 678-1588 or emily.lecoz@journalinc.com.

BY THE NUMBERS
46th – Ranking of Mississippi drivers’ in the GMAC Insurance National Drivers Test.

34.9 million – Number of Americans expected to be on the roads this holiday weekend.

74.8 percent – Average score Mississippi drivers earned on the test.

82.9 percent – Average score for Kansas drivers on the test, earning them a first place ranking.