What State Has The Most Car Accidents? - Yuba Law
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What State Has The Most Car Accidents?

What State Has The Most Car Accidents?

What State Has The Most Car Accidents?

Car accidents are a leading cause of death in the United States, and they occur with alarming frequency. If you’re wondering what state has the most car accidents, this blog post is for you.

Every year, millions of Americans get into car accidents. While most of them aren’t serious, many of them, unfortunately, result in serious personal injuries, or worse, deaths. Despite that, the risk of being involved in an accident remains a frightening prospect for anyone who regularly drives.

If you are concerned about your safety on the road, there are many statistics regarding car accidents and state safety that may be of interest to you.

When we drive every day, it is easy to become complacent about our surroundings and trust that everyone else on the road is driving responsibly. Read on for more information about what state has the highest car accidents and what you can do to reduce your risk of being in such a crash yourself.

What causes car accidents?

There are a lot of factors that go into finding out what state has the most car accidents and the reasons behind them. You have to look at the number of licensed drivers, the population of the state, the number of registered vehicles, and the amount of time people spend on the road. You also have to look at the types of roads in the state, the weather, and the distracted driving laws.

Distracted driving

One of the most common causes of car accidents is distracted driving. About one in five crashes in the U.S. are caused by drivers who are distracted by their cell phones. When you’re texting or talking on the phone, you’re not paying attention to the road, and this can lead to serious accidents.

Drunk driving

Another common cause of car accidents is drunk driving. In 2020, out of the 41,444 drivers involved in vehicle accidents, 8,643 were alcohol-impaired. About 30 percent of fatal crashes were due to drunk driving in the same year.


Speeding is another leading cause of car accidents. According to NHTSA data, anywhere from 20 to 45 percent of fatal vehicle accidents are attributed to speeding.

Environment and road conditions

Finally, weather can also play a role in car accidents. Rain, snow, and ice can all make driving more difficult and increase the risk of accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about 2 percent of all vehicle crashes were attributed to atmospheric and road conditions.

Out of these, 50 percent of the crashes were due to slick roads, while 17 percent of accidents were attributed to glare. The other reasons listed in the NHTSA study include

about 50 percent (±14.5%) of the 52,000 crashes the critical

  • view obstruction
  • lack of signs and signals
  • fog, snow, and rain

Driver errors or vehicle problems

Apart from distraction and drunk driving, driver errors can include poor judgment, fatigue, and bad decisions. This category can also include unexpected causes such as brake failure or deer/animals crossing the road.

Now that you know the top reasons for car accidents, let’s get to the main topic “what state has the most car accidents?”

car accident in usa

What state has the most car accidents?

In the U.S., according to the Bureau of Transportation, there were 6,569,680 car accidents in 2019 alone. This number has remained more or less constant over the past few years, translating to an average of about 18,500 car accidents per day.

When it comes to fatal car crashes, an NHTSA study reports that 38,824 fatalities occurred in 2020, while 42,915 fatalities were recorded in 2021.

So, what state has the most car accidents? The answer may surprise you.

You might think that the state with the most car accidents is the one with the most drivers on the road. But that’s not necessarily the case. In fact, the state with the most car accidents might be the one with the most distracted drivers.

When determining what state has the most car accidents, it is important to look at car accidents based on these factors:

  • the total population of the state
  • the number of licensed drivers
  • number of fatal accidents
  • the cause of car accident
  • the miles traveled
  • registered vehicles

Based on available data, here are the top states with the highest number of fatal car accidents.

The top states with the highest number of fatal accidents based on driveable miles

When it comes to answering the question “what state has the most car accidents?” one of the factors to look at is the driveable miles. According to available data, the death rates per 100 million miles are between 0.54 and 1.83.

The five states that had the highest fatality rates per 100 million miles include:

The following states had the most fatalities based on miles according to the most recent NHTSA data:

Texas: According to the NHTSA data from 2020, Texas had the highest car accident-related fatalities at 3874. Texas was also the state to record the highest number of fatal accidents in 2018.

While speeding and drunk driving are the top reasons for car accidents in Texas, the second most common reason was distracted driving. Other common causes include following other vehicles too closely, not wearing a seat belt, and failure to obey signage.

California: California came a close second at 3847 car accident-related fatalities. A popular state for tourists, California is home to some of the well-known highways in the U.S. in addition to having a high population count at 39,512,223.

In 2019 as well, the fatal car accidents totaled 3,259 across 348,796 driveable miles. A notable statistic when it comes to California is that 71 percent of car accidents involved alcohol.

Florida – At 3331 fatalities, Florida ranked third in the list of states with the most number of car crash fatalities.

Florida attracts millions of tourists each year thanks to its tourist destinations and beautiful beaches.

While the driveable miles are 221,816, there are 1.41 deaths in the state per million miles. Drunk driving and not wearing restraints were the top causes of fatalities in 2019.

Top states with the most fatal car accidents based on licensed drivers


Based on historic trends, Mississippi ranks as one of the states with the highest number of fatal car accidents based on licensed drivers.

In 2019, the fatal crashes totaled 581 while there were 2,017,111 licensed drivers. Per 10,000 licensed drivers, 2.88 fatal car crashes occurred in 2019.

Close to 50 percent of those who were killed were not wearing a restraint. Compared to most states, Mississippi has the lowest rates when it comes to seat-belt usage.

In addition, Mississippi is plagued by sub optimal driving conditions that include poorly lit or badly maintained roads. Drunk driving is another major cause of fatal car accidents.

According to the Department of Transportation, 18 percent of vehicle fatalities in Mississippi is attributed to drunk driving.


Based on car accidents per the number of licensed drivers, Wyoming comes second in the list. While there were 427,233 licensed drivers in 2019, fatal car crashes totaled 120 in 2019 with 2.81 fatal crashes occurring per 10,000 licensed drivers.

In 2020, per the Department of Transportation, 13,000 car accidents were reported in Wyoming.

DUI is the most common reason for car accidents in Wyoming while high-speed winds are known to make driving difficult.

New Mexico

With 48,000 car accidents being reported in 2019, New Mexico features in the list of the states with the highest fatal car crashes.

While the state had 1,473,219 licensed drivers in 2019, 2.50 crashes occurred per 10,000 licensed drivers.

Bad road conditions are often blamed for the high crash rates. New Mexico also ranks as one of the states with the highest fatal accidents based on the number of registered vehicles. In 2019, 19.52 fatal crashes were recorded per 100,000 registered vehicles.

South Carolina

While South Carolina has twice as many licensed drivers compared to Mississippi, it comes fourth in this list because the fatal car accidents per 10,000 licensed drivers are slightly lower.

The state recorded 2.36 fatal crashes in 2019 per 10,000 licensed drivers. The top reasons for high crash rates are poor road conditions and speeding. In fact, in 2019, per the SCDPS (South Carolina Department of Public Safety), the reason behind close to 40,000 car collisions was speeding.


Unpredictable weather conditions are often attributed to the high car accident rates in Kentucky. According to the KTC (Kentucky Transportation Center), one per 24 licensed drivers was involved in a car accident in 2020.

Per 10,000 licensed drivers, Kentucky recorded 2.30 fatal crashes.

States with the highest number of fatal car accidents based on the causes 

Alcohol-related crashes

In 2017, the NHTSA estimated that 10,874 people died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes, accounting for nearly one-third (29 percent ) of all traffic-related deaths in the United States that year.

On average, there are 28 fatal alcohol-related crashes in the United States each day. One in three traffic fatalities in the United States involved a driver with a BAC of .08 or higher.

More recent data from the Department of Transportation shows that Rhode Island was the state to have the highest percentage of drivers (BAC > 0.08 percent) who were fatally injured. The other states with a high percentage of fatally injured drivers with BAC > 0.08 are:

  • Washington
  • Virginia
  • Vermont
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Nebraska
  • New Mexico
  • New Hampshire
  • Nevada
  • Maryland
  • Louisiana
  • Maine


In 2020, only 44 percent of those involved in fatal car accidents were restrained. Nebraska tops the list of states with the lowest restraint use at 23 percent. Other states to record a high number of unrestrained fatalities include:

  • Missouri
  • Maine
  • Louisiana
  • Illinois
  • Kentucky
  • Iowa
  • Montana
  • New Jersey

The states with the highest car crash fatalities based on residents

Here are the worst states when it comes to car accident deaths per 100,000 residents based on 3-year data (2016 to 2018):

Out of these, Mississippi has consistently recorded about 20 deaths per 100,000 residents while South Carolina has averaged 18 deaths per 100,000 residents.

  • Mississippi
  • South Carolina
  • Alabama
  • Louisiana
  • Arkansas
  • Kentucky
  • New Mexico
  • Oklahoma
  • Florida
  • West Virginia

As you can see, the number of car accidents in each state varies based on a number of factors. While it is hard to generalize, the states with the most car accidents are typically those with the most populous cities and poor driving conditions. Driver behaviors such as alcohol impairment and lack of seatbelt use are the other common reasons behind high rates of car accidents in most states.

Ways to prevent car accidents

Car accidents can happen at any time, place, or circumstance. It doesn’t matter if you are new to a state or have lived there your whole life; car crash risks are present everywhere.

As such, it is crucial to be prepared for anything and everything that might come your way on the road.

Fortunately, there are ways to prepare for these unfortunate scenarios and reduce your risk of being involved in an accident.

While there is no way to completely eliminate the risk of being in a car accident, there are steps you can take to reduce your chances of being involved in one. Here are a few tips:

  • Always wear your seat belt.
  • Obey the speed limit and other traffic laws.
  • Don’t drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Don’t text or use your phone while driving.
  • Pay attention to the road and be alert to your surroundings.

With that being said, you should use this information to better prepare yourself for potential crashes.

What to do in case of a car accident

If you are involved in a car accident and you’re hurt, contact a Yuba City car accident lawyer for help. At the Law Offices of Steve Gimblin, our skilled personal injury lawyer can help you explore your legal options and recover compensation for your losses. We offer free consultations where we review your case in detail before offering the most suitable course of action.

Get in touch with us to know more about how we can help you when it comes to car accidents, personal injury, or wrongful death.

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