Bartenders, ticket sales representatives and journalists are among the nation’s worst drivers, while postmasters and music composers are among the best, according to an insurance industry study.
The study of 1.6 million car insurance applications by Insurify, an auto insurance comparison website, looked at what professions were the most likely to have had moving violations, such as speeding, driving under the influence or driving with suspended licenses. The database of insurance applications includes personal information such as driving history and job.
The jobs with the worst drivers tended to have unconventional hours or involve exhausting or stressful labor, the study found. The worst drivers nationally are people in ticket and membership sales — 43% of the group had traffic violations. The study noted that people in these professions tend to work 55-60 hours per week and sometimes work weekends.
“If you are putting in 60-hour weeks, it might spread your attention thinner and it might make you less attentive on the roads, and it might disrupt things like your sleep cycle,” said Kacie Saxer-Taulbee, data scientist and writer with Massachusetts-based Insurify. “If you have additional stress, you might be less able to respond to risks.”
Some jobs with a higher percentage of poor drivers are part of the “gig” economy, which has more irregular hours and lower pay, she said. People with “gig” jobs often work more than one.
The study also found high percentages of bad drivers among fitness club managers, film production crew workers, bartenders, chiropractors, welders, metalworkers, masseuses, journalists and sales representatives.
Postmasters had the best driving records, as just 16% had traffic violations, followed by fishermen, dry cleaners, park rangers, agricultural inspectors, federal agents, music composers or directors, police detectives, real estate appraisers and executives.
Reasons vary as to why some of these professions have drivers with better safety records, Saxer-Taulbee said. Some jobs, like fishing or composing music, don’t involve much time in a car. Agricultural inspectors do drive a lot, but on open country roads, where there isn’t a lot of law enforcement, Saxer-Taulbee said.
Some professions with a high percentage of problem-free drivers are well-paid and have regular and predictable hours, like postmasters. Executives, the best-paid drivers in the study, may bring the same level of responsibility they bring to their jobs to their driving, the study said. They also tend to have nicer cars, Saxer-Taulbee said.
Saxer-Taulbee said that three factors make a good driver — experience, aptitude and concentration.
“Concentration is probably the biggest one under your control,” she said. “Try to be well-rested, try to make sure you’re alert. Varying your driving route can help as well. If you take the same route all the time, you’re more likely to go on autopilot.”