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Top 10 States with the Most Car Accidents

Tarun Sridharan Legal Editor & Attorney Contributor Read Time: 8 minutes

Top 10 States with the Most Car Accidents

In the United States, car accidents are not uncommon.

According to data gathered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) car accidents occur a lot more frequently than people might think. In 2022, there were 42,795 fatal motor vehicle accidents. Furthermore, 1.6 million crashes were linked to injuries, while 3.6 million were linked to property damage. Cumulatively, that’s close to 5.3 million motor vehicle accidents in the United States on an annual basis!

But what state has the most car accidents? Keep reading to find out.

If you’ve been in an accident, the statistics should make it clear: you’re not alone in dealing with this. We’re here to help. Call 1-800-THE-LAW2 for a free consultation with a car accident attorney in our network. The network attorney will be able to evaluate your claims and give you guidance on how to proceed.

List of Car Accidents by State: Which are the Most Dangerous?

We’ve collected national traffic data, by which we’ve ranked states based on the number of deaths per 100,000 people in traffic accidents. This is annualized data, so all numbers are for a single year. The data tells us which state has the most car accidents per capita. Here are the top five most dangerous states in the USA to drive in:

  • Mississippi — 25.4  deaths per 100,000 people.
  • Wyoming —  22 deaths per 100,000  people.
  • Arkansas — 21.2  deaths per 100,000 people.
  • South Carolina —  20.7 deaths per 100,000 people.
  • Montana — 19.6 deaths per 100,000 people.

As you can see, Mississippi has the most car accidents per capita by state. For anyone who understands car accident risk factors, this is relatively unsurprising. As a general rule: more rural roadways, combined with a less educated population and lacking public spending on roadway maintenance, lead to a greater risk of car accidents and fatalities on the road. This is a well-defined phenomenon that can be observed in states and counties throughout the United States.

Which US City Has the Most Car Accidents?

The US city with the most car accidents is Baltimore, MD with a 153% collision likelihood. That is the highest percentage in any U.S. city. This is based on the average number of years between accidents per driver, and in Baltimore, the average is 4.2 years. This means that it’s where most car crashes happen. 

Baltimore has a lot of high-speed expressways that up the chances of accidents, and Baltimore drivers are often ranked among the worst in the country. Some big reasons why most car accidents happen here include speeding, driving under the influence, and distracted driving. 

What Causes the Increased Accident Risk?

There are several factors that industry experts have identified as contributing to a heightened accident risk. These factors are likely to have been involved in making the states and cities we listed among the most dangerous. So let’s explore some of the basics. Risk factors for car accidents include: 

  • Low income levels
  • Low education levels
  • Significant numbers of unlicensed drivers
  • Weak regulatory environment
  • Loose enforcement of traffic regulation
  • Inadequate spending on public roadway maintenance
  • Significant rural traffic
  • Low road visibility
  • Unfavorable weather conditions
  • And more

For example, poorly maintained and poorly-designed rural roads tend to lead to significantly more car accidents due to low visibility, potholes, and other issues. Further, lax enforcement on rural roads tends to lead to more reckless driving. Thus, more rural states also tend to be strongly associated with heightened accident risks.

How to Secure Compensation from Drivers Who Don’t Have Car Insurance

The cost of car insurance has gone up a lot in recent years. In 2022, there was a big 7.9% increase, followed by another 5.9% rise in the first half of 2023. According to JD Power’s Insurance Intelligence Report, more and more people in the U.S. are struggling to afford auto insurance these days.

The report also found that more American households with at least one vehicle don’t have auto insurance. In the first half of 2023, the number of uninsured households increased to 5.7% from 5.3% in the second half of 2022.

An even larger number of drivers have “inadequate” insurance to cover all their losses. So what can you do to secure full compensation in situations where the defendant is uninsured or underinsured?

There are a few different strategies that your attorney will likely explore:

  1. They will consider the possibility of suing other defendants, who might have also contributed to the accident.
  2. They will help you file an uninsured or underinsured claim with your own car insurance policy.
  3. They may explore the possibility of bringing in an employer through the vicarious liability principle.

In essence, it’s your attorney’s job to develop your legal arguments thoroughly. If it is sensible for your case, they’ll help you sue all the relevant parties. This can minimize the problem of the driver not having sufficient insurance coverage.

Which State Has the Best Drivers?

Out of all the states, Massachusetts ranked best, with just 4.9 fatal accidents per year (per 100,000 people).

Why does Massachusetts have such a low fatal accident rate? Massachusetts, along with New Jersey, has the fewest uninsured drivers and one of the lowest rates of DUI-related arrests compared to other states. It also stands out as one of the safest states when it comes to speeding incidents. In Massachusetts, you can get a learner’s permit at 16 and a full license at 18. So, it seems like Massachusetts has some of the oldest “new” drivers in the US, according to the stats.

Injured by Someone Who Was Driving Under the Influence? Here’s Some Useful Information.

Drunk driving is a serious problem, and the number of accidents linked to drunk driving is alarmingly high. According to the NHTSA, in 2021, there were 13,384 motor vehicle fatalities associated with drunk driving. That’s 37 deaths per day on average. Severe injuries are even more common!

Importantly, if you’ve been injured by a drunk driver, you may actually have some advantages in the lawsuit. See, there are two primary advantages you have:

  1. It’s usually a more straightforward process to establish liability, as linking the driver’s impairment to the accident can be much easier.
  2. The court may decide to impose bonus punitive damages.

Let’s take a closer look at advantage #2.

Courts have discretion in particularly egregious circumstances to impose punitive damages. These damages are meant to punish the wrongdoer for their behavior and to discourage others from doing the same. In the car accident context, punitive damages are sometimes imposed if the defendant was driving under the influence.

Bonus punitive damages can add up to nearly seven times your baseline damages. In other words, a $100,000 case can give rise to $700,000 in punitive damages, for an $800,000 total recovery. That’s significant! Given the potential for such a high recovery, it’s worth exploring the possibility of punitive damages with your attorney. 

Contact Los Defensores for a Free Consultation with a Car Accident Attorney

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, then you could be entitled to significant compensation under the law. However, car accident injury victims often don’t realize that they have legitimate claims. That’s why it’s important to have an attorney evaluate your case and help you figure out the next steps.

Call us at 1-800-THE-LAW2 to get connected to an experienced car accident attorney in our network. Consultation is free, and you’ll have an opportunity to discuss your case and whether it’s worth pursuing. Don’t just resign yourself to what happened. Take action. Start by having a conversation with one of our network attorneys.

We look forward to assisting you.

Our offices are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so we can assist you no matter when your accident occurs.

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