Today we bring good news and bad news to Tacoma drivers, as well as any innocent pedestrians, cyclists or wildlife who might get in our way. Which do you want to hear first?
The good news is, Tacoma drivers perform better behind the wheel than the clueless bumper crumplers of Seattle, Bellevue and Portland.
The bad news is, we’re trending toward fender bending more than ever before, compared to the rest of the country.
T-Town ranks 164th this year among the 200 cities in Allstate’s America’s Best Driver Report, putting a safe cushion between us and those bungling bigshot cities on the I-5 corridor.
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Seattle easily has the most hapless collection of drivers in the Northwest, lurching into 184th place like a primer-coated ‘78 Pontiac Grand Prix with three missing hubcaps and duct-taped muffler.
Needletown has dropped into the national bottom 20 for the first time since the insurance company started doing its annual analysis.
Blame it on too much coffee, too much white-knuckle passive-aggressiveness disguised as politeness, and too many people who learned to drive in Ballard.
They really should just call an Uber and call it a day.
But before our fellow 253ers start revving their engines in celebratory gloating, note that Tacoma has fallen hard, too. We’ve tumbled into the bottom 40 for the first time.
A little worse than Cincinnati, New York, Miami and Chicago.
A lot worse than Spokane. Where they have dust storms and snow.
Now that’s embarrassing.
We knew our region has lots of road ragers, seven-day Sunday drivers, SMIDSYs (“Sorry, man, I didn’t see you!”) and Gandalfs (“You shall not pass!”). But this is ridiculous.
The LeMay car museum should seriously consider opening a new exhibit about us: “Salvaged, Damaged and Totaled Cars of the Puget Sound, brought to you by Allstate.”
The ugly numbers: As Tacomans, we are 36.6 percent more likely to get into an accident than the average American driver. And we are involved in a collision every 7.3 years.
So if The Schnoz sits down and does the math — let’s see, there was that time last spring our brakes failed driving downhill on 30th into Old Town … that time last year we swerved to miss a pothole on South Tacoma Way … that time we were putting on eyeliner while driving a float in the 2012 Daffodil Parade … that time we rear-ended one of those %$#@! slowpokes in Fircrest.
Oh, forget it. Let’s just call an Uber and call it a day.
Campaign slogan: For the Sound Transit measure expected on the November 2016 ballot, which would collect billions of dollars for the next regional transit package: “Vote yes. Because Washington really needs to keep all you terrible drivers off the road.”
Boy’s best friend: Devoted son Dan Roach shared some thoughts about his mother, Pam, this week that either exuded family values or gave off a faint whiff of creepiness. It depends on your feelings about the preeminent political clan of East Pierce/South King county.
Pam has announced her bid for the Pierce County Council, where Dan holds the chairman’s gavel, and Dan says he plans to run for county executive. So the possibility that voters may double down with a pair of Roaches in the 2016 election cannot be ignored.
On the prospect of having his mom as a close ally, Dan says: “We really aren’t that far off. For the most part, we share pretty much the same thinking about how we vote.”
A warped mind like ours can’t help but think of the famous words of one of Alfred Hitchcock’s most famous movie characters.
“A boy’s best friend is his mother.”
Never mind that Pam Roach has lost her temper and faced discipline from time to time in the state Senate.
We all go a little mad sometimes. Haven’t you?
Moving mountains: Anyone who doesn’t think Mount Rainier should have its name changed is living in denali … er, denial.
Mount Tacoma makes sense for all kinds of reasons, the most important of which is sticking it to Seattle.
But here’s another wacky idea. Instead of continuing to honor a powerful white man who never set foot here, honor a powerful white man who at least planned to.
A man who already has a Tacoma park and elementary school named after him.
A man who was scheduled to visit Tacoma in 1901 until his wife took ill and he was assassinated before they could reschedule.
A man whose name is suddenly available.
Introducing, Mount McKinley!