Minnesota and Wisconsin enjoy many friendly rivalries. Vikings versus Packers. Gophers versus Badgers. Cheese versus… well, lutefisk?

Whether you boast purple pride or are a diehard cheesehead, there is one thing we neighbors have in common: We all think we’re great drivers. According to one famous study, 80% of drivers rate themselves as above average.

What the numbers say

As it turns out, when it comes to statistics on traffic fatalities, Minnesota has Wisconsin beat. The 2019 annual ranking from Car Insurance Comparison placed Minnesota in the top spot for the fifth year in a row.

The ranking is based on a number of data points:

  • Traffic fatality rates
  • Incidence of DUI
  • Compliance with traffic laws
  • Prevalence of careless driving
  • Incidence of speeding

Minnesota had the second-lowest traffic fatality rate for 2019 (behind Massachusetts), with only 0.66 deaths per 100 million miles. Minnesota drivers also ranked at the top for lowest levels of careless driving. In other factors, they placed 6th best for obeying traffic laws, 18th for drunk driving and 19th for speeding.

Wisconsin drivers didn’t fare so well. Ranked in the bottom half overall, Wisconsin was the 5th worst state for drunk driving and the 10th worst for traffic law compliance.

It’s not all bad news for Wisconsinites, however. The state’s fatality rate still came out in the top 11.

The one area we all need to improve

Of course, safe driving isn’t a contest with winners and losers. When people get hurt or killed in traffic accidents, we all lose. And there is one area that all drivers can improve upon: distracted driving.

Distractions behind the wheel kill thousands of people every year. Cellphones play a big role in those accidents. Texting while driving is illegal in both Minnesota and Wisconsin. Minnesota also bans using a handheld phone while driving, and efforts are underway to enact a similar law in Wisconsin.