Yes, Las Vegas has poor drivers. Why? Because everywhere has poor drivers. And actual bad Las Vegas drivers are vastly outnumbered by the bad ones from elsewhere—whether they’re just visiting or are recently arrived residents. The last two times my car was in an accident (once backed into, once tagged from behind), it was a visiting driver who was at fault. Did Allstate’s report dig into these statistics? It was a rudimentary accident-per-capita report, not an analytical study. In other words, not very useful in assessing actual Las Vegas drivers.
I’ve driven about a half-million miles in more than 30 states, and drivers in Las Vegas seem par for the road. Which is to say: distracted, self-important, distracted, poorly trained and distracted.
Where do our city’s most obnoxious tourists come from?
When I was a teenager chasing girls (and high scores) at Circus Circus, we childishly mocked Midwesterners who stood, mouth agape, pointing at what we imagined them calling “all dem purty lights!” Ten years later, those lampooned vacationers were the bread-and-butter of an expanded, and decidedly more middlebrow, Strip. Many old-timers (including Steve Wynn, who implemented now mostly abandoned dress codes when The Mirage opened in 1989) wrinkled their noses at those from flyover country queuing at showrooms in shorts and fanny-packs. That battle was lost: Today, shorts are everywhere, with flip-flops replacing fanny packs.
Later, in the mid-1990s, Las Vegas was overrun with wannabe Hollywood types, all seemingly piloting the same black luxe SUVs, and all wearing the same shiny shirts and sunglasses at night. While they may have dressed snazzier than the Midwesterners (not accounting for taste), they were loud, demanding and often poor tippers.
In fact, when asking others, I find that obnoxious is often equated with poor tipping. Today, many in the service industry (from servers to strippers) repeatedly cite certain countries for sending us cheapskates who tip poorly (if at all).
Today, I do my best to avoid cultural stereotyping. I keep it simple: Anyone who pulls out a cellphone, photographs a celeb doing something naughty, and then Tweets it or sells it to TMZ, is not welcome in my Vegas.