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Arlington Ranks as Safest ‘City’ for Driving

by ARLnow.com August 9, 2011 at 1:45 pm 5,083 51 Comments

Arlington is by far the safest place to drive in the country — at least among cities and census-designated places with a population over 150,000.

According to recent federal accident data compiled by CNBC, Arlington has only 0.48 traffic fatalities per 100,000 population. The data includes vehicle occupant and pedestrian fatalities, but does not factor in the raw number of accidents or non-fatal injuries.

The next-safest city has more than twice the fatality rate. Vancouver, Wash. has 1.23 traffic fatalities per 100,000 population. The “most dangerous” city in the country is Fort Lauderdale, Fla., where each year 22.39 people die in accidents for every 100,000 people.

(The accident pictured took place this morning on George Mason Drive near N. 10th Street. Two minor injuries were reported.)

Hat tip to Matt Leighton

  • cyclist

    I wonder why? And I wonder how it ranks with bicycles as well as pedestrians?

    (Florida has the worst bike fatality rate too).

  • BLAH

    It’s because Barbie Fagioli is blocking Jamie Argentina-Solo from merging onto a slip lane in Donaldson Run and not thinking of the children–the ones working in sweatshops to provide goods for the new Clarendon WalMart.

    There. Now the rest of you can make some serious comments.

    • Brandon C

      Serious comments? Let’s not get hasty.

    • Bluemontsince1961


      • normal

        Really? Are you really rolling on the floor laughing?

        • Josh S


    • BLAH

      Don’t cry for me, Areizaga…


      hilario! No really, I needed that laugh. Thanks 🙂


      No mention of everyone giving up their cars in favor of riding lawnmowers, go-cart’s and donkeys? 🙂

  • Tire

    I’m going to guess the Honda was making a left turn into the townhouse development and the Subaru plowed into it. I will however never know, and that will eat at me forever.

    • Tabby

      I always blame the SUV drivers.

      • Tabby

        Yet, on closer inspection, the fragile-looking oldies dressed like tourists were probably driving the shitty car and wanted to turn around because they couldn’t find 66, and hit the late-middle aged/borderline elderly guy whose shirt indicates he probably drives the nicer Honda SUV.

        There. Case closed.

      • Jon

        Usually I blame SUVs also. But everyone knows that Subaru drivers are the very bottom of the bottom. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a Subaru that wasn’t being driven the way I’d expect a legally-blind retard to drive.

      • Daniel

        both vehicles are SUVs

  • Tabby

    Yet, on closer inspection, the fragile-looking oldies dressed like tourists were probably driving the not-so-nice (OK?) car and wanted to turn around because they couldn’t find 66, and hit the late-middle aged/borderline elderly guy whose shirt indicates he probably drives the nicer Honda SUV.

    There. Case closed.

  • Nunya

    safe for cars. banks are another story.

  • Don Ager

    Fort Lauderdale, no surprise there. God’s waiting room. I’ll bet they’re also the oldest drivers on the road.

    • Joe Hoya

      And throw in some drunk college kids, for good measure.

      • Shirleyyoujest

        And gays, don’t forget the gays. Wait, that doesn’t fit..

  • SaveDaveMcKenna

    Could be due to the Anderson Cooper look-a-like in Alcova Heights who will run out into the street if you are going a mile over the posted speed limit.

  • Stan

    I would say this is delusional…. but I guess I will say this. Where Arlco’s traffic calming, walking community, bike lane efforts have taken, they are incredibly successful. In the 20 years I have been in Arlington, I have seen an incredible transformation. It use to be good… but it has gotten tremendously better. Arlington has successfully promoted and created a community where traffic is calmed, and pedestrians have safe routes.

    What rubs me the wrong way however are bike intersections like N Lynn St on the Custis Trail which are about the same as playing Russian Roulette for a biker… and the county has consistently failed to do *anything* to help the situation. There are some spots that are woefully in need of attention. And the driving culture over 20 years has simply gone to pot. No one use to run red lights – now its not a question of whether someone will run the red light, the question is how many cars will run it.

    • Burger

      You don’t see the paradox in your statement do you?

      Perhaps the “traffic calming” isn’t as effective, and thus, people need to get places are slowed in areas that don’t make much sense will go through red lights more often?

  • Hattie McDaniel

    Imagine how much safer Arlington roads would be if we could somehow prevent cars with Maryland plates from driving on them!

    • Chris M.


    • Jack

      Maryland drivers are aweful

      • Jack

        typo: awful

  • MickeyInArlington

    Low fatalities, sure.

    Half of the drivers tool around at about 7 mph as though they are sitting atop a bananna cart being pulled by donkeys or sway-backed horses rather than operating a gasoline-powered vehicle in an industrialized country.

    Another third or so who are too old and too near-sighted to go fast.

    While the rest are impeded by

    – the lack of left-turn arrows

    – the abundance of 7 inch high traffic “calming” humps and “apron curbs” that take half a lane.

    – taxi-drivers who hoover in other drivers’ blind spost hoping for an accident.

    – county cops whose idea of fun is to take up an entire lane of traffic during rush hour to ticket someone not stoping completely before making a right on red

    – and utterly clueless county board members who won’t be happy until every lane is packed with more bicycles than Beijing.

    The only people I see driving fast are parents dropping their kids off in front of schools or those rushing to the many, many Arlington drug stores (for, incontinence meds, I suppose).


      +10. I can’t wait for the other replies…someone is bound to have an aneurysm over this.

      • MickeyInArlington

        When I heard about the sink-hole in Clarendon, I kinda hoped it was over the Apple Store in Clarendon Village.

        Though the earth opening and swallowing PinkBerry Yogurt and patrons in one fell swoop had a certain appeal…

    • normal

      More dead people would be so much better. We need to kill more pedestrians so you can get there 3 seconds faster, Mickey.

      • MickeyInArlington

        Only two that I can think of.

        One, the fool with the jogging baby stroller who crosses (trots actually) against the Don’t Walk light most mornings of the week.
        I’m afraid poor Baby Affluence is going to end up in Special Ed classes over in Nock. His little mushy head is getting quite the shaking from Mr. Flex Time’s morning jog.

        And one other.

        • normal

          Yep, one other.

    • Bluemontsince1961

      +20 – some of these things are quite true!

      Expect your list will go over with some folks like a preacher at a ridge runners convention.

    • CW

      I agree and, while your reasons are written humorously, they’re mostly true. Nothing calms traffic like one lane backed up waiting for a left turn due to the fact that there’s no arrow and the other lane blocked by a double-parked delivery truck.

  • Arlwhenever

    The reported number, .48 per hundred thousand, implies a single fatality, yet I can think offhand of at least four traffic accident fatalities in the last year, the bicyclist/car accident at the bottom of the Walter Reed hill, the school volunteer run over by the school bus at Carlyn Springs Road, the motorcyclist killed at the intersection of Arlington Blvd. and Irving St. and the lady run down on the Quincy St./I66 Bridge.

    • cranky.crankypants

      the numbers for 2010 haven’t even been released yet, so don’t get all knicker-twisted about 2011 and the carnage that is seemingly unreported. It will come.

      Now if our analysts really wanted to do justice to the numbers, they should report a 3- or a 5-year average per population. Regardless, our numbers are remarkably good and seem to be relatively free of drunken debacles on wheels.

  • Daniel

    How much do you tip on a taxi driver who hoovers?

  • speedy gonzales

    I just got a ticket sorry Arlington. Too much cheese here.

  • Bender

    Safest city, huh?

    OK, then. Can we now please STOP with all the additional street narrowing and lane narrowing?

    • MoneySpendingMoustache

      No, it’s still very dangerous around here. Except when it isn’t. I pat myself on the back and waste your money at the same time.

  • Somebody Had To Say It…

    Gotta wonder how much getting rid of slip lanes contributed to this shining accomplishment…

  • Mickey

    Why is everyone so clueless? The highest speed limit is 35 MPH with roads that are nothing more than asphalt covered dirt roads! The average speed limit is 25 MPH! If you drive over that speed, the roads will kill your car! Stoplights that keep you 2-3 minutes to “calm” the speeds every 2-3 blocks….what do you expect? You can walk quicker than going by car! No wonder the fatalities are down!

    • neathridge

      Well, there is 45 in a number of places. More seriously, I wonder if accidents on I-395 within Arlington get included in Arl statistics.

  • Vinh An Nguyen

    I do hate that most drivers tend to go 20 mph on the stretch of Wilson between Oak and Washington Blvd when the speed limit is 30 mph. Then, once they get past Wash. Blvd, where the limit drops to 25, they speed up and go 35. Crazy.

  • Roquer

    I’m this is true!! You mostly can’t get UP. To the speed limit here. How could anyone get injured at all?

  • Me ke

    I am kinda suprised to see. It’s probably because pedestrians in arlington are terrified of crossing the streets since no one seems to stop for them. Including our own Arlington cops. I asked one why he didnt stop and he told me he was rushing to a call. Really and you have time to talk to me balancing a cup of coffee on your binder? Must have been a bank robbery

  • Abe Froman

    That is an impressive stat considering the dim witted maneuvers I see drivers pulling crossing Wilson, south bound on Glebe or going north on Glebe across Fairfax, thinking that the middle lane gets its choice of going into the middle or right lane. Or perhaps the idiot I see who are incapable of navigating the Washington Wilson Blvd intersection. Or the people who can’t figure out what lane they belong in pulling out from in front of St Charles Church on to Fairfax drive.

    Those 4 intersections alone and the inbreds who can’t navigate them should put us way up that list.

  • Saywhat

    This is interesting considering I almost got side-swiped by two cars yesterday when the drivers both blew through the YIELD sign on South Shirlington Rd near the 395 ramp. You would think the residents of such a highly educated area would be able to read (or at least sound out) 5 letters.

  • Amen Brutha

    The yield sign on Shirlington Rd. at the Shirlington traffic circle is a joke. Unless I’m planning on turning on to Campbell Ave. via the *shudder* slip lane from from the traffic circle, I always try to stay in the left-hand lane on the circle as I go through that area.

  • I got that PMA

    Mini Vans and MD drivers are the problem. I can’t remember the last time I saw a MD driver use a turn sign or a mini van driver not on their cell phone or eating chicken wings, driving down 95.

  • Charles

    Unless you’re a bicyclist. Then Arlington isn’t so safe.


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