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Dangerous States to Be on the Road

The National Safety Council estimates as many as 40,000 people died in motor vehicle accidents in 2016 — which equates to an average of about 109 people every day. 

From distracted driving, which kills more than eight people a day, to accidents that just happen, driving in the U.S. can be a dangerous activity. 

To understand just how dangerous the road can be, we examined data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) from 2014 to 2015 to see which states were the most dangerous for men and women behind the wheel, the types of vehicles involved in the highest number of fatal accidents and the passengers who were most likely to be killed in a vehicular crash. Continue reading to see what we learned.

In the Driver’s Seat


Risky Rides

In 1994, there were more than 36,000 fatal vehicular accidents across the United States. In 2014, that number fell to just under 30,000. 

Fatal auto accidents from 2014 to 2015 were much more likely to involve men than women. In North and South Dakota, male drivers accounted for at least 82 percent of the state’s fatal accidents. In 2015, the North Dakota Department of Transportation reported more than “43.2 percent of all fatal crashes were alcohol-related.” Male drivers were also present in over 3 in 4 fatal auto accidents in Maryland, Vermont, Delaware, Connecticut, Oklahoma, California, West Virginia, and Hawaii. 

More than 30 percent of New Hampshire’s fatal vehicular accidents involved female drivers. While the number of fatal auto accidents fell by 30 percent overall in 2014, it was still one of the most dangerous states when women were behind the wheel. 

Maine also had one of the highest percentages of fatal accidents involving women, with more than 28 percent of fatal accidents involving female drivers. Similarly, more than 28 percent of fatal accidents in North Carolina and Washington involved a woman driving the vehicle.

Drivers aren’t the only people who are involved in fatal auto accidents. 

In nine states, passengers were present in more than 1 in 3 deadly accidents. Montana had the highest percentage of fatal accidents involving passengers from 2014 to 2015. And New Mexico and Wyoming had a similarly large number of fatal vehicular crashes involving passengers. 

However, passengers were present for the lowest percentage of fatal accidents in Virginia (just more than 21 percent). Maryland, Rhode Island and Connecticut also had low rates of passengers being involved in fatal auto crashes.

Road Hazards

Despite its size, the Ford F-Series pickup truck was the most common vehicle involved in fatal accidents in 25 states. Similarly, the Chevrolet Silverado was the most common vehicle involved in deadly crashes in nine states. Including North Dakota — where incidents were even between the Ford F-Series pickup truck and Chevy Silverado — pickup trucks (including the Toyota Tacoma) were at the scene of fatal auto accidents in nearly three out of every four states.

Reports from 2016 show that both of these vehicles are the two best-selling cars across the country. In 2015, one study showed the Chevrolet Silverado was one of the 10 deadliest cars in the country. 

The Harley-Davidson 750 cc and Harleys with a greater engine size were involved in more fatal vehicular accidents than any other make or model in 10 states including Colorado, Illinois and Ohio. 

Smaller vehicles like the Honda Civic, Toyota Camry, and certain Harley-Davidsons accounted for the greatest number of fatal accidents in Rhode Island and New York.

Posh But Precarious

Luxury vehicles including Acura, Audi, BMW, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lexus, Lincoln, Mercedes-Benz, and Porsche, accounted for less than 10 percent of automobiles involved in fatal accidents in our state-by-state analysis. In 2015, one survey found that of all vehicles manufactured in 2011, nine makes and models weren’t involved in a single fatal accident. Of those nine, four were luxury models. 

In California, luxury cars were involved in more than 8 percent of fatal accidents. Similarly, luxury vehicles in Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey were involved in more than 7 percent of fatal accidents. 

In rural states like Vermont, Montana, and Wyoming, these automobiles accounted for less than 2 percent of total vehicles involved in fatal accidents.

Risky Riding

Motorcycle brands including Ducati, Harley-Davidson, Kawasaki, Suzuki, Triumph, and Yamaha, face some of the most unique dangers on the road compared to many other types of vehicles, accounted for roughly 1 in 10 vehicles involved in road fatalities in 11 states. 

In Rhode Island, motorcycle brands made up more than 13 percent of vehicles in fatal accidents, the highest percentage anywhere in the country. 

Other Northeastern states, such as Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Vermont, had some of the highest rates of motorcycle brand involvement in fatal accidents, while Alabama, Mississippi, and North Dakota reported the lowest.

Children and Teenagers in Deadly Accidents

In Idaho, more than 35 percent of passengers younger than 16 were involved in fatal vehicular accidents. In Utah, people under 16 years old were present for more than a third of all accident fatalities, many of which could have been avoided through the use of proper safety restraints like seat belts. 

While minors made up more than 30 percent of passengers in fatal accidents that occurred in Wyoming and Alaska — New Hampshire had the lowest rate of teenagers and children involved in fatal vehicular accidents (less than 10 percent overall).

Reducing the Dread

At least one study found Americans tend to think they’re safer drivers than they actually are. While the rate of crash fatalities went down in 2014, there was a spike in the number of vehicle- and accident-related deaths in 2016. 

There are a lot of elements that need to be considered before getting behind the wheel — but how much you should be paying for insurance shouldn’t be one of these things. At insuranceQuotes, we believe in making sure you aren’t overpaying for the insurance you deserve. Visit us online for a free, customizable quote comparing the best deals for the best coverage today.


Using data from 2014 to 2015 from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), we looked at where crashes were the most prevalent for men, women, and drivers with passengers. What are the most crashed vehicles in every state? Where are the highest rates of accidents involving luxury vehicles and popular motorcycle brands? We also looked at where crashes are most prevalent for drivers with passengers younger than 16. 

Luxury vehicles included in our data are Acura, Audi, BMW, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lexus, Lincoln, Mercedes-Benz, and Porsche. Motorcycle brands included in our results are Ducati, Harley-Davidson, Kawasaki, Suzuki, Triumph, and Yamaha.


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