In response to statistics about traffic fatalities released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for 2021, U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said, “we face a crisis on America’s roadways that we must address together.”

According to the NHTSA, traffic fatalities are at a 16-year high with over 42,900 Americans dying in motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2021. This is a 10.5% increase from 2020. Although car accidents are pretty common in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) consider motor vehicle crashes a public health concern.

This blog post discusses which states have the most car accidents to help you understand where you may face the biggest risk.

5 States with a Large Number of Fatal Accidents

Policygenius lists these five states as having the most car accidents fatalities in 2020.

  1. California – 3,847 deaths/3,558 accidents
  2. Texas – 3,874 fatalities/3,520 accidents
  3. Florida – 3,331 deaths/2,950 accidents
  4. Georgia – 1,664 deaths/1,522 accidents
  5. North Carolina – 1,538 deaths/1,412 accidents

According to data from Policygenius, Alaska, Vermont, Hawaii, Rhode Island, and Washington D.C. had the fewest deaths. Population is a big factor in motor vehicle accidents. People who live in urban areas or densely populated areas have a higher risk of accidents, at least based on car insurance rates. More people on the road means more accidents, which is why it makes sense that California, Florida, and Texas all rank highest in fatal car accidents.

5 States with a High Accident Rate

Fatal car accidents only account for a portion of the car accidents each year. Insurify studied data from 2022 to determine the top 10 states with the most car accidents. They averaged the number of drivers with an at-fault accident on their record against the total number of drivers in the state. The national average is 8.8%.

  1. South Carolina – 12% of drivers had an at-fault accident on their record
  2. Massachusetts – 11.9%
  3. Ohio – 11.4%
  4. Nebraska – 10.6%
  5. Georgia – 10.6%

Maryland, Maine, North Carolina, Iowa, and Indiana round out the ten states with the most at-fault accidents on record. Notice that many of these states are highly populated with longer commutes.

Insurify goes on to report that more accidents do not correlate to more fatalities. Massachusetts has the second-highest rate of auto accidents in the nation, but it also has the fewest traffic fatalities per capita. The state has more fender benders than major, life-threatening accidents. The most life-threatening accidents occur in Alabama, Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.

What Types of Vehicles Are Involved in Accidents?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gives us some more information about vehicle crashes by state based on type of vehicle. In 2020…

  • …Wyoming had the highest percentage of deaths in SUVs and pickups at 48%.
  • …New Jersey had the highest percentage of pedestrian fatalities at 30%.
  • …Florida and Hawaii tied for the highest percentage of bicyclist’s fatalities at 5%.
  • …Vermont had the highest percentage of deaths by car occupants at 44%.

Nationally, 35% of fatalities were car occupants, 26% were SUV or pickup occupants, 17% were pedestrians, 14% were motorcyclists, and 2% were bicyclists. Kansas is pretty average, with 32% of fatalities from car occupants, 33% from SUVs and pickups, 15% from motorcyclists, and 11% from pedestrians.

Single-vehicle accidents accounted for 55% of motor vehicle crash deaths nationally. In Montana and Rhode Island, 70% of fatalities were attributed to single-vehicle accidents. Delaware had the highest percentage of deaths in multiple-vehicle crashes at 53%. In Kansas, the split is 50/50.

Nationally, 57% of motor vehicle crash deaths occurred in urban areas. The District of Columbia is entirely coded as an urban area, so 100% of its fatalities occurred in an urban area. Rural areas with the highest percentage of deaths were Montana, Maine, and Wyoming. In Kansas, 62% of fatalities occur in rural areas.

Why Do Accidents Occur?

According to the CDC, the biggest risk factors for motor vehicle fatalities include the following.

  • Not using seat belts and children’s car or booster seats.
  • Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Speeding
  • Distracted driving

What Is the Cost of Vehicle Accident Fatalities?

The CDC estimates that traffic accident deaths cost Americans a loss of $55 billion or more each year just in medical and work loss expenses. This doesn’t take into account the additional financial burden on victim’s families, nor does it take into account the emotional toll on the family, which also carries over to employers and communities who are left to step in.

Kansas’s portion of that loss comes to about $571 million, which is significantly lower than Missouri’s cost at $1.31 billion. It’s comparable to Iowa’s loss of $463 million.

Improve Your Safety on the Road!

One report says that the average driver will file an insurance claim for an auto accident about once every 18 years. That means most drivers have three to four accidents over their driving lifetime. Although auto accident fatalities have declined over time since 1985, thanks to better design and more safety standards, auto accidents are a risk every time someone gets on the road.

Improve your safety on the road with vehicle upfitting services for personal and fleet safety. At TCS Upfitting, we provide our customers with custom upfitting products, such as tonneau covers, window tinting, and ignition security systems.

We install lighting and electronics for police and other first responders and have many options for all industries to make vehicles safer and more functional while they are on the road.

We customize a wide range of vehicles, from ATVs and UTVs to emergency vehicles to work trucks. Our technicians are trained and certified to perform these installations to make sure you get a reliable product. Contact TCS Upfitting to learn more about our upfitting solutions and services. We want to help you stay safe on the road!