transportation

Houston swerves onto new list of U.S. cities with the worst drivers

Don't drive distracted, Houston. Photo by Jeswin Thomas on Unsplash

Locals may think that Houston is one of the most traffic-ridden cities, but its drivers are actually much better than many other U.S. cities, according to a new study by Forbes Advisor.

In its report "Cities With The Worst Drivers, Ranked," published February 8, Forbes Advisor analyzed the 50 most populated U.S. cities across five metrics to determine which have the worst drivers in the country. Those metrics, calculated per 100,000 city residents using a five-year average from 2017-2021, were: total number of fatal car accidents, number of people killed in fatal crashes, and number of fatal car accidents involving a drunk, distracted, or speeding driver.

Houston ranked No. 23 overall, earning a score of 59.27 points out of a possible 100. That means the drivers here are solidly average — and that other Texas cities' drivers are, amazingly, even worse than ours.

The report found approximately 10.81 total fatal crashes occur for every 100,000 city residents in Houston, with less than 12 people (11.36) killed in fatal crashes per 100,000 residents.

Where drunk drivers are involved, Houston ranked No. 9 for the highest per-capita number of fatal crashes. Fewer than five fatal drunk driving crashes (4.44) occurred per 100,000 residents.

This troubling discovery isn't exclusive to Houston, the state of Texas as a whole still struggles with drunk drivers. More than five people are killed in car crashes involving a drunk driver for every 100,000 Texans, according to a 2023 Forbes report.

Here's how Houston fared in the remaining categories:

  • No. 33 – Number of fatal crashes involving speeding (2.79 per 100,000 residents)
  • No. 40 – Number of fatal crashes involving a distracted driver (0.24 per 100,000 residents)
Forbes Advisor concluded that three of the top-15 U.S. cities with the worst drivers were located in Texas. Dallas (No. 6) earned a score of 90.97 points to take the crown for the city with the worst drivers in the state. Fort Worth (No. 9) also earned a top-10 spot, and San Antonio ranked No. 12. Austin fell behind Houston into No. 24.

The report found Dallas had the third-highest number of fatal car accidents involving a drunk driver, with 6.25 crashes per 100,000 residents. Dallas also ranked No. 4 in the category for the highest number of fatal car accidents involving speeding: 5.69 per 100,000 residents.

The most dangerous U.S. city to drive in, Forbes says, is Albuquerque, New Mexico. Albuquerque leads with the highest number of fatal car accidents involving a distracted driver, at 5.42 crashes per 100,000 city residents.

The top 10 U.S. cities with the worst drivers are:

  • No. 1 – Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • No. 2 – Memphis, Tennessee
  • No. 3 – Detroit, Michigan
  • No. 4 – Tuscon, Arizona
  • No. 5 – Kansas City, Missouri
  • No. 6 – Dallas, Texas
  • No. 7 – Louisville, Kentucky
  • No. 8 – Phoenix, Arizona
  • No. 9 – Fort Worth, Texas
  • No. 10 – Tampa, Florida

The study calculated five-year averages using data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Fatality and Injury Reporting System Tool for the years 2017-2021, and U.S. Census Bureau city population data from 2022.

The report and its methodology can be found on forbes.com.

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This article originally ran on CultureMap.

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A View From HETI

The work is "poised to revolutionize our understanding of fundamental physics," according to Rice University. Photo via Rice.edu

A team of Rice University physicists has been awarded a prestigious grant from the Department of Energy's Office of Nuclear Physics for their work in high-energy nuclear physics and research into a new state of matter.

The five-year $15.5 million grant will go towards Rice physics and astronomy professor Wei Li's discoveries focused on the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS), a large, general-purpose particle physics detector built on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, a European organization for nuclear research in France and Switzerland. The work is "poised to revolutionize our understanding of fundamental physics," according to a statement from Rice.

Li's team will work to develop an ultra-fast silicon timing detector, known as the endcap timing layer (ETL), that will provide upgrades to the CMS detector. The ETl is expected to have a time resolution of 30 picoseconds per particle, which will allow for more precise time-of-flight particle identification.

This will also help boost the performance of the High-Luminosity Large Hadron Collider (HL-LHC), which is scheduled to launch at CERN in 2029, allowing it to operate at about 10 times the luminosity than originally planned. The ETL also has applications for other colliders apart from the LHC, including the DOE’s electron-ion collider at the Brookhaven National Laboratory in Long Island, New York.

“The ETL will enable breakthrough science in the area of heavy ion collisions, allowing us to delve into the properties of a remarkable new state of matter called the quark-gluon plasma,” Li explained in a statement. “This, in turn, offers invaluable insights into the strong nuclear force that binds particles at the core of matter.”

The ETL is also expected to aid in other areas of physics, including the search for the Higgs particle and understanding the makeup of dark matter.

Li is joined on this work by co-principal investigator Frank Geurts and researchers Nicole Lewis and Mike Matveev from Rice. The team is collaborating with others from MIT, Oak Ridge National Lab, the University of Illinois Chicago and University of Kansas.

Last year, fellow Rice physicist Qimiao Si, a theoretical quantum physicist, earned the prestigious Vannevar Bush Faculty Fellowship grant. The five-year fellowship, with up to $3 million in funding, will go towards his work to establish an unconventional approach to create and control topological states of matter, which plays an important role in materials research and quantum computing.

Meanwhile, the DOE recently tapped three Houston universities to compete in its annual startup competition focused on "high-potential energy technologies,” including one team from Rice.

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