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Most dangerous states for driving

  • Most dangerous states for driving

    Here’s some good news for anyone about to hit the road for vacation: Car crashes across America are killing fewer people—especially children.

    In 2018, yearly deaths from motor vehicle accidents fell by nearly 1,000 people from the previous year, and with a drop of more than 10% among children, according to 2018 data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Fatalities related to speeding saw an almost 6% decline. Deaths from drunk driving dropped about 4% and made up just over a quarter of traffic deaths, the lowest percentage in more than 35 years.

    Those heartening statistics come even as people drive more and are part of a 40-year downward trend. Experts point to a raft of safety measures, from increased use of seat belts to vehicle improvements such as air bags and electronic stability control.

    But there are some sober warnings among the numbers. More than 6,000 pedestrians died, the most since 1990, and motorcycle fatalities were up by almost 5%. The same was true for bicyclist deaths, which were up more than 6%, as well as an almost 1% increase for the occupants of large trucks.

    For those of you who live in cities, here is a trend to keep an eye on: Over the last decade, traffic deaths in urban neighborhoods have been on the rise, and have surpassed deaths in rural areas since 2016. Among the kinds of accidents that have become deadlier in cities, pedestrian deaths were up 69%, bicycling deaths were up 48%, and motorcycle deaths were up 33%.

    Reviews.com compiled a list of the most dangerous states for driving using data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and from analysis by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. There were a total of 36,560 deaths as a result of motor vehicle crashes in the U.S. in 2018, the year these figures cover. States are ranked by 2018 fatalities per 100 million vehicle travel miles. The data was released in 2019.

    Take a look at how your state compares, and always drive safely.

  • #50. Massachusetts

    - Fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles: 0.54 (-80% change since 1975)
    - Total fatalities: 360 (-58.0% change since 1975)
    - Percent of fatalities related to speeding: 26.4% (#31 highest of all states)
    - Percent of fatalities with a driver over .08 BAC: 33.3% (#8 highest of all states)
    - Deaths by road user type: 49.1% car, 25.6% light trucks, 2.9% large trucks, 21.3% motorcycles, 1.1% other or unknown

    A law banning handheld phone use went into effect this year a decade after drivers were prohibited from sending or reading texts. Nearly three of every four Massachusetts drivers and front-seat passengers wear seat belts, and seat belt use across the country saved more than 374,000 lives between 1975 and 2017. Massachusetts was also among the states with the lowest percentage of fatalities on rural roads.

     

  • #49. Minnesota

    - Fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles: 0.63 (-79% change since 1975)
    - Total fatalities: 381 (-49.0% change since 1975)
    - Percent of fatalities related to speeding: 29.7% (#22 highest of all states)
    - Percent of fatalities with a driver over .08 BAC: 27.6% (#28 highest of all states)
    - Deaths by road user type: 41.3% car, 35.8% light trucks, 1.2% large trucks, 18.0% motorcycles, 3.7% other or unknown

    Minnesotans are vigilant about seat belt use, with 94% of drivers and front-seat passengers wearing them, above the national average. Police are allowed to stop drivers solely for failing to wear one, what’s known as a primary law. And as of last year, drivers cannot hold a phone in their hands.

    Recently, though, police are warning of an uptick in speeding, running red lights and stop signs, and crashes resulting in death.

  • #48. New Jersey

    - Fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles: 0.73 (-66% change since 1975)
    - Total fatalities: 564 (-46.0% change since 1975)
    - Percent of fatalities related to speeding: 20.2% (#41 highest of all states)
    - Percent of fatalities with a driver over .08 BAC: 22.2% (#45 highest of all states)
    - Deaths by road user type: 54.2% car, 26.1% light trucks, 3.5% large trucks, 14.3% motorcycles, 1.9% other or unknown

    New Jersey’s seat belt use is just above the national average at 88%. It banned the handheld use of phones and has one of the country’s strictest graduated license laws, which imposes restrictions on when a new driver can be on the road, limits how many passengers he or she can have, and prohibits any use of phones, handheld or hands-free.

  • #47. Rhode Island

    - Fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles: 0.74 (-62% change since 1975)
    - Total fatalities: 59 (-46.0% change since 1975)
    - Percent of fatalities related to speeding: 45.8% (#3 highest of all states)
    - Percent of fatalities with a driver over .08 BAC: 33.9% (#6 highest of all states)
    - Deaths by road user type: 36.0% car, 24.0% light trucks, 0.0% large trucks, 36.0% motorcycles, 4.0% other or unknown

    A group called Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, an alliance of public safety, law enforcement, insurance companies, and other groups, gave Rhode Island top marks for its safety laws, including a ban on texting and requiring seat belt use. What’s missing? Mandating helmets for motorcycle riders, nighttime restrictions for new drivers, and limiting an unrestricted license to those 18 and older.

  • #46. New York

    - Fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles: 0.76 (-79% change since 1975)
    - Total fatalities: 943 (-60.0% change since 1975)
    - Percent of fatalities related to speeding: 29.1% (#24 highest of all states)
    - Percent of fatalities with a driver over .08 BAC: 32.6% (#10 highest of all states)
    - Deaths by road user type: 45.6% car, 26.3% light trucks, 1.5% large trucks, 23.0% motorcycles, 3.6% other or unknown

    New York City is cracking down on dangerous drivers. Those caught repeatedly speeding or running red lights could end up losing their cars under a law passed this year. The first state in the country to mandate seat belt use in the front seat of a vehicle, New York will extend the requirement to all passengers over the age of 16 in November.

  • #45. Utah

    - Fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles: 0.81 (-76% change since 1975)
    - Total fatalities: 260 (-4.0% change since 1975)
    - Percent of fatalities related to speeding: 26.9% (#30 highest of all states)
    - Percent of fatalities with a driver over .08 BAC: 23.5% (#43 highest of all states)
    - Deaths by road user type: 38.4% car, 32.9% light trucks, 3.7% large trucks, 21.5% motorcycles, 3.7% other or unknown

    Home to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, whose members are not supposed to drink alcohol, Utah has among the lowest percentages of alcohol-impaired driving fatalities among all traffic fatalities. In 2018, it became the first state to lower its drunk driving limit, or blood alcohol content, to 0.05%, a recommendation from the National Transportation Safety Board.

  • #44. Maryland

    - Fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles: 0.84 (-68% change since 1975)
    - Total fatalities: 501 (-25.0% change since 1975)
    - Percent of fatalities related to speeding: 24.6% (#35 highest of all states)
    - Percent of fatalities with a driver over .08 BAC: 24.4% (#42 highest of all states)
    - Deaths by road user type: 52.9% car, 27.1% light trucks, 2.5% large trucks, 17.0% motorcycles, 0.5% other or unknown

    Maryland toughened its drunk and drugged driving laws last year by increasing penalties for drivers with prior convictions and those who kill someone. Like Utah, it has one of the lowest percentages of alcohol-related driving fatalities in the U.S.

  • #43. Washington

    - Fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles: 0.88 (-72% change since 1975)
    - Total fatalities: 546 (-28.0% change since 1975)
    - Percent of fatalities related to speeding: 32.8% (#16 highest of all states)
    - Percent of fatalities with a driver over .08 BAC: 30.4% (#13 highest of all states)
    - Deaths by road user type: 43.6% car, 34.4% light trucks, 2.1% large trucks, 18.9% motorcycles, 0.9% other or unknown

    In the state of Washington, almost everyone wears seat belts, with the percentage of drivers and front-seat passengers buckling up coming in at 97%. As of 2017, drivers cannot hold their phones even while stopped in traffic (no drinking coffee or applying makeup, either). Washington has been out front on battling distracted driving, and more than a decade ago, it became the first state to ban texting while driving.

  • #42. Wisconsin

    - Fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles: 0.89 (-73% change since 1975)
    - Total fatalities: 588 (-37.0% change since 1975)
    - Percent of fatalities related to speeding: 31.6% (#17 highest of all states)
    - Percent of fatalities with a driver over .08 BAC: 33.8% (#7 highest of all states)
    - Deaths by road user type: 43.5% car, 35.2% light trucks, 2.7% large trucks, 15.8% motorcycles, 2.9% other or unknown

    Wisconsin considers a first-time drunk driving offense a traffic violation rather than a crime, which some lawmakers have been trying to change. The percentage of alcohol-impaired driving fatalities is higher in Wisconsin than in any neighboring state. Some Wisconsin legislators also want to expand laws governing phone use while driving—texting has been banned since 2010, but now legislators have been considering legislation requiring all hands-free driving.

  • #41. Connecticut

    - Fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles: 0.93 (-56% change since 1975)
    - Total fatalities: 294 (-24.0% change since 1975)
    - Percent of fatalities related to speeding: 30.6% (#19 highest of all states)
    - Percent of fatalities with a driver over .08 BAC: 39.1% (#3 highest of all states)
    - Deaths by road user type: 52.8% car, 21.5% light trucks, 3.9% large trucks, 21.0% motorcycles, 0.9% other or unknown

    Some 87% of Connecticut drivers and front-seat passengers wear their seat belts, just over the national average. The state’s Department of Public Health has recommended that everyone in a vehicle be required to buckle up to improve safety. The percentage of fatal crashes involving a drunk driver was one of the highest in the country in 2017—only Washington D.C.’s rate was higher.

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