A List of Car Accidents by State: Where It’s Most Dangerous To Drive

Use this list of car accidents by state to see your risk on local roadways. Find out what insurers are paying for auto claims where you live.

Driving is one of the most dangerous methods of transportation. High speeds, large trucks, and impaired motorists all make getting behind the wheel a big risk.

Your risk from a car accident differs depending on where you live.

As you’ll see in this article, a motorist in Mississippi is much more likely to be involved in a fatal car crash than a driver in Washington, D.C. or New York.

This list of car accidents by state presents recent, publicly available numbers to help you understand your risk of injury or death on American roadways.

We also provide the latest information on the amounts auto insurance companies are paying for vehicle accidents throughout the country.

The List of Car Accidents by State

If traffic safety were the same throughout the United States, you would find roughly the same number of car crashes everywhere. There would be about the same level of damages per person across Texas, Minnesota, and New Jersey. More crowded states would have more accidents, but the percentage of fatal crashes would be about the same.

Green US map

Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) tells a very different story. The NHTSA tracks fatal motor vehicle crashes in every state, along with several adjacent factors. 

The statistics show an interesting mix of factors related to traffic accidents and fatalities. The factors show less of a relationship between population and fatal accidents than you would expect.

In 2018, there were approximately 6,734,000 car accidents in the United States, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III). Of those crashes, 4,807,000 only caused property damage, not personal injury, and 1,894,000 involved non-fatal injuries. 

The NHTSA numbers specifically break out the fatal accident statistics by state, which are compiled and presented below with information from the III.

The relevant factors for this list of car accidents by state:

  1. Number of fatal car accidents
  2. Fatality rate per 100,000 people

Reliable, recent information regarding filed lawsuits for motor vehicle accidents across all states and courts was not available. This is due to the number of different state and federal courts around the country.

The states are sorted by the number of fatal accidents per 100,000 people.

State

Fatal traffic accidents, 2018

Fatal accidents per 100,000 people, 2018

1

Mississippi

664

22.23

2

South Carolina

1,037

20.40

3

Alabama

953

19.5

4

Wyoming

111

19.21

5

New Mexico

391

18.66

6

Montana

182

17.13

7

Arkansas

516

17.12

8

Oklahoma

655

16.61

9

Louisiana

768

16.48

10

West Virginia

294

16.28

11

Kentucky

724

16.2

12

Tennessee

1,041

15.38

13

Missouri

921

15.03

14

South Dakota

130

14.74

15

Florida

3,133

14.71

16

Georgia

1,504

14.3

17

Arizona

1,010

14.08

18

Kansas

404

13.88

19

North Carolina

1,437

13.84

20

North Dakota

105

13.81

21

Idaho

231

13.17

22

Indiana

858

12.82

23

Texas

3,642

12.69

24

Oregon

506

12.07

25

Nebraska

230

11.92

26

Delaware

111

11.48

27

Colorado

632

11.1

28

Nevada

330

10.88

29

Vermont

68

10.86

30

Alaska

80

10.85

31

New Hampshire

147

10.84

32

Maine

137

10.24

33

Wisconsin

588

10.11

34

Iowa

318

10.08

35

Michigan

974

9.7

36

Virginia

820

9.63

37

Pennsylvania

1,190

9.29

38

Ohio

1,068

9.14

39

California

3,563

9.01

40

Maryland

501

8.29

41

Hawaii

117

8.24

42

Connecticut

294

8.23

43

Utah

260

8.22

44

Illinois

1,031

8.09

45

Washington

546

7.25

46

Minnesota

381

6.79

47

New Jersey

564

6.33

48

Rhode Island

59

5.58

49

Massachusetts

360

5.22

50

New York

943

4.83

51

D.C.

31

4.41

NHTSA does not track state statistics for non-fatal automobile accidents. There is data, however, showing where the heaviest insurance losses occur. The table below shows total insurance losses in each state, ranked according to the amount of losses in proportion to the 2019 population. So, South Dakota had the highest total incurred insurance losses proportionally, and Hawaii had the lowest.

State

Total incurred insurance losses (including injury and property damage), adjusted for 2019 population

1

South Dakota

$2,227,477

2

North Dakota

$1,850,490

3

Montana

$2,123,593

4

Nebraska

$3,632,370

5

Florida

$36,870,506

6

Delaware

$1,575,961

7

Wyoming

$919,249

8

Colorado

$8,800,495

9

New Jersey

$13,470,081

10

Louisiana

$6,888,509

11

New York

$28,392,877

12

Connecticut

$4,967,377

13

Kansas

$4,012,555

14

Texas

$39,462,827

15

Georgia

$14,298,049

16

Illinois

$16,998,439

17

Rhode Island

$1,363,715

18

Maryland

$7,567,341

19

Pennsylvania

$15,874,888

20

Missouri

$7,615,718

21

Nevada

$3,832,778

22

Arkansas

$3,547,203

23

Michigan

$11,644,625

24

Massachusetts

$8,060,079

25

Oklahoma

$4,614,956

26

Iowa

$3,644,935

27

South Carolina

$5,928,911

28

California

$44,488,554

29

Minnesota

$6,328,775

30

Wisconsin

$6,328,775

31

D.C.

$750,576

32

Vermont

$663,772

33

Kentucky

$4,661,744

34

Mississippi

$3,120,632

35

New Mexico

$2,205,237

36

Oregon

$4,356,292

37

Washington

$7,737,237

38

Alabama

$5,021,062

39

Alaska

$748,428

40

Indiana

$6,780,466

41

Idaho

$1,771,513

42

Virginia

$8,071,714

43

Arizona

$6,937,130

44

West Virginia

$1,699,944

45

North Carolina

$9,827,941

46

Utah

$3,026,937

47

Tennessee

$6,317,565

48

Ohio

$10,673,940

49

Maine

$1,217,021

50

New Hampshire

$1,209,413

51

Hawaii

$1,251,898

More Fatal Accidents in the South and West

Highway at sunset

The data show that certain parts of the United States fared worse than others. With seven out of the top 10 most dangerous states, the South had the highest proportion of fatal accidents by a wide margin.

The West also fared poorly, with the notable exceptions of Utah (perhaps due to its strict alcohol laws) and California.

California, being the most populous state, had much higher raw numbers than the other states for both fatal accidents and insurance losses, but was among the safer states when adjusted for population. New York, which also has a lot of people, was behind only Washington, D.C., in terms of safety.

Not every high-population state did well, though. Florida, the most populous state in the South, ranked in the top half of dangerous states. Texas fared a bit better, ranking in the middle of the list.

The safest regions of the country appear to be New England and the Mid-Atlantic, which account for over half of the 10 safest states.

Insurance Settlements Are Higher in More Dangerous States

Another interesting pattern emerges from this data when it comes to insurance company payouts. Total insurance losses by property and casualty insurers are higher in the more dangerous states when adjusted for population. For example, the top 20 states on the top chart show losses approximately 8.5% higher than the bottom 20 states.

While it may be tempting to say that the top 20 states just have more lawsuits, the facts do not support that theory. The most dangerous 20 states are mostly rural, while the safest 20 contain huge and litigious population centers like California and New York. 

Given the facts, it’s more likely that higher losses occur in more dangerous states — states where driving results in more fatal accidents.

Learn more about auto insurance claims with our free State Car Accident Guides.

Be Careful Out There, Wherever You Are

Woman clicks seatbelt into place

Not all states are equal in terms of car crashes and safety. Some are far deadlier than others and present a greater risk of personal injury.

No matter where you live, you should treat driving as a relatively dangerous method of transportation. Always wear your seat belt, follow the rules of the road, avoid distracted driving, and never drive while drinking.

If you’re involved in an accident anywhere in the United States, call a local attorney for a free consultation. Get the help you need to pursue the injury compensation you deserve.

Matthew Carter, Esq. has been a licensed attorney since 2004. He’s admitted to practice law in California and Nevada, where he was awarded the Martindale.com rating of AV – Preeminent. Matthew has successfully handled a variety of personal injury and wrongful death cases, as well as trials, appeals, and evidentiary hearings throughout state and federal... Read More >>

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