car accident fatality rate

While car accidents represent 1.3 percent of all fatalities in the United States, the car accident fatality rate varies dramatically by state. Some places are in the process of implementing plans to eliminate car crash fatalities all together yet others cities and states need to work on a plan to simply reduce their automobile accident death rate.

Car accident fatality rate by state

A study using 2013 data from the National Highway Transportation Safety Association (NHTSA) showed that the state with the least amount of car accident deaths is Washington D.C. with 3.1 per 100,000 people. By comparison, the state with the highest car accident fatality rate is Montana with 22.6 deaths per 100,000 people.

Car accident death rate per 100,000 by state from lowest to highest:

1. Washington D.C., 3.1 2. Massachusetts, 4.9 3. New Jersey, 6.1
4. New York, 6.1 5. Rhode Island, 6.2 6. Washington, 6.3
7. Alaska, 6.9 8. Minnesota, 7.1 9. Hawaii, 7.3
10. Utah, 7.6 11. Connecticut, 7.7 12. Illinois, 7.7
13. California, 7.8 14. Maryland, 7.8 15. Oregon, 8.0
16. Ohio, 8.6 17. Virginia, 9.0 18. Colorado, 9.1
19. Nevada, 9.4 20. Pennsylvania, 9.5 21. Wisconsin, 9.5
22. Michigan, 9.6 23. New Hampshire, 10.2 24. Iowa, 10.3
25. Delaware, 10.7 26. Maine, 10.9 27. Vermont, 11.0
28. Nebraska, 11.3 29. Georgia, 11.8 30. Indiana, 11.9
31. Kansas, 12.1 32. Florida, 12.3 33. Missouri, 12.5
34. Arizona, 12.8 35. Texas, 12.8 36. North Carolina, 13.1
37. Idaho, 13.3 38. Kentucky, 14.5 39. New Mexico, 14.9
40. Wyoming, 14.9 41. Louisiana, 15.2 42. Tennessee, 15.3
43. South Dakota, 16.0 44. South Carolina, 16.1 45. Arkansas, 16.3
46. Alabama, 17.6 47. Oklahoma, 17.6 48. West Virginia, 17.9
49. Mississippi, 20.5 50. North Dakota, 20.5 51. Montana, 22.6

Factors affecting the car accident death rate

  • Speed limit: in Washington, D.C., the highest speed limit is 55mph while in Montana the highest speed limit is 80mph.
  • Total miles driven: in rural states people often drive more miles as they travel in wide open spaces to get to the next destination.
  • Climate: states with a lot of snow and ice have a disadvantage.
  • Age distribution: states with high populations of teenagers or senior citizens have a disadvantage.

Vision zero

Despite reduced accident death rates in many states over the last decade, there are still too many people being killed in car accidents. In 2013 alone, almost 33,000 people were killed in car accidents across the United States. Cities including New York City, Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco have launched initiatives known as “vision zero” to eliminate traffic fatalities. Washington State is the only state to have implemented this initiative state wide. The idea is that one traffic death is too many and that we should not accept traffic deaths as inevitable. Since the plan was implemented in 2000, Washington State has seen its car accident deaths decrease from 658 in 2002 to 436 in 2013. The 2017 goal is to reduce the number of motor vehicle traffic deaths to 317. Data shows that the state is on target to meet this goal and well on its way to reaching zero traffic deaths by 2030.

The four “E’s” to target zero:

Education: educate drivers on making good choices on the road.


  • Provide driver behavior data to law enforcement so they can identify locations with the most serious collisions.
  • Enforcement of DUI and speeding laws.


  • Build and make changes to infrastructure using best practices to prevent or reduce the severity of collisions.
  • Design roadways to account for human errors and make changes to promote safety and predictability where road structure is contributing to high car crash rates.
  • Reduce speed limits where appropriate.
  • Build more and better cross walks, sidewalks and bike lanes.

Emergency Medical Services: Provide high-quality and rapid emergency and medical response to car crashes with injuries.

If you or a loved one is dealing with an accident or injury, you have enough on your plate. Let an experienced accident attorney fight for the full compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times bigger with the help of a lawyer. Call the caring accident attorneys at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!