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Where To Find The Most Dangerous Roads In America

Forbes logo Forbes 5 days ago Jim Gorzelany, Contributor

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As reported elsewhere on Forbes.com, the National Safety Council (NSC) reports that, despite myriad advancements in auto safety and stricter state DUI and licensing laws, motor vehicle deaths been steadily creeping upwards after decades of decline. Preliminary figures indicate they shot up by 6% in 2016 to a grisly total of 40,200 lives lost. That’s the highest traffic fatality rate in nine years.

That means the nation endures 12.40 lives lost to traffic accidents for every 100,000 members of its population, or 1.25 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled. The NSC estimates that motor-vehicle deaths, injuries, and property damage cost the nation an estimated $432.5 billion last year in wage and productivity losses, medical expenses, administrative expenses, employer costs, and property damage. That’s a 12% increase over 2015.

Research

Looking deeper into the numbers it seems that if a motorist wants to avoid becoming a statistic down the road, it would be wise to head for the hills.

That’s because the states the NSC says suffer the most motor vehicle deaths – perhaps not surprisingly – are the most populated in the union. Texas, California, and Florida each suffered over 3,000 traffic fatalities during 2016. Combined, these three states account for a whopping 26% of all the traffic fatalities reported among all 50 states (and the District of Columbia).

By the same token the states having the fewest highway deaths are also among those having the fewest residents, including the District of Columbia at 28 fatalities, followed by Rhode Island at 53, and Vermont at 64. Combined they’re responsible for an infinitesimal 0.3% of U.S. highway deaths.

The state showing the greatest increase in traffic-related fatalities last year was New Mexico, which was up by 34% (398 in total), followed by Alaska at +29%, Hawaii at +27%, Iowa at +26%, and Alabama at +23%.

At that, not all 50 states reported a jump in motor vehicle deaths last year. In fact, they dropped in a dozen states, with wide-open Wyoming showing a decrease of 23% (a total of 112 fatalities), followed by Montana at -15%, North Dakota at -14%, and South Dakota at -13%.

Here’s the NSC’s list of the 12 states that recorded the most motor vehicle deaths during 2016, with the percentage of increase (or decrease) noted:

  1. Texas: 3,751 deaths; +7%
  2. California: 3,680 deaths; +13%
  3. Florida: 3,037 deaths +3%
  4. Georgia: 1,540 deaths; +10%
  5. North Carolina: 1,435 deaths; +3%
  6. Pennsylvania: 1,189 deaths; -1%
  7. Ohio: 1,129 deaths; +2%
  8. Illinois: 1,087 deaths; +6%
  9. Michigan: 1,064 deaths; +8%
  10. Alabama: 1,044; +23%
  11. Tennessee: 1,042 deaths; +8%
  12. South Carolina: 1,015 deaths; +6%

Click here for the NSC’s full by-state list of highway fatalities.

The fine print: All of the above statistics are preliminary. Deaths are reported by state traffic authorities. Note that the NSC’s figures are not comparable to those from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The NSC counts both traffic and non-traffic deaths that occur within a year of the accident, while NHTSA counts only traffic deaths that occur within 30 days of a crash.

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