LEWISTON — An insurance comparison website has ranked Mainers the absolute worst drivers in the country.

In contrast, Massachusetts drivers — often stereotyped by Mainers as the most horrible drivers to ever exist — ranked right in the middle of the pack at no. 22.

The annual ranking was released Thursday by Quotewizard.com. The site said it used incident data from the users of its website, as well as Federal Highway Administration fatality data. It looked at accidents, speeding tickets, citations, fatalities and drunk driving incidents.

The site blamed a rise in traffic citations and fatalities for Maine’s jump from seventh-worst last year to absolute worst this year. In particular, it cited Maine Department of Transportation data that showed an increase of 1,669 car crashes from 2016 to 2017. 

Maine had 33,289 car crashes in 2016 and 34,958 in 2017.

Maine Department of Public Safety spokesman Stephen McCausland said Thursday that he’d never heard of Quotewizard and had not seen its ranking. However, he pointed out, Maine roads in 2018 were among the safest since 1956, with 140 highway deaths. Only three years since 1956 had so few.

Also, he noted, Maine’s seat belt compliance in 2018 hit more than 88 percent, the highest use of seat belts ever registered in the state.

“Both of those positive numbers can be attributed to Maine drivers, who drive safe,” he said in an email.

This is the third year Quotewizard has come out with its best and worst drivers list. Maine was ranked the fourth-worst for 2016.

Not that Massachusetts drivers are off the hook.

“Massachusetts drivers rank near the middle of the pack, but they did jump 10 spots this year to No. 22, so those assumptions about MA drivers could very well be validated,” the site’s content manager, Adam Johnson, said in an email. 

The state with the best drivers, according to Quotewizard? Michigan.

“If you want a stress-free road trip, pack your bags and head to the Great Lakes State. Drivers earn the gold medal thanks to less citations, speeding, and fatalities than last year,” the site said. 

However, there’s a catch.

“Our study only accounts for insured drivers, and this state has plenty of rule-breakers,” the site said. “Although Michigan’s insured drivers are the best in the country, one in five don’t have car insurance. Oops!”

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A map of the best and worst states for drivers, from Quotewizard.com.

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