This State Has the Deadliest Drivers in the U.S., According to Data

·18 min read

For many of us, driving is an essential part of our daily lives. It's the primary means by which we get to work, the grocery store, and anywhere else we need to go day-to-day, but it also happens to be one of the most dangerous things we do on a regular basis. More than 37,000 people die in car accidents in the United States every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). But some parts of the country are more dangerous to drive in than others. So, at Best Life, we set out to determine which state has the deadliest drivers in the U.S.

To do that, we consulted 2021 research conducted by the financial experts at SmartAsset. They used the most recently available data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to calculate the number of vehicle-caused fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles driven. Using that metric, an element of their ranking of the worst drivers in the U.S., we ranked each state based on its fatality rate. Read on to discover which state has the deadliest drivers in the U.S.

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50

Massachusetts

Deaths per 100 million miles driven: 0.51

Massachusetts had 0.51 fatalities per 100 million miles driven, the lowest of all 50 states.

In addition to looking at the number of vehicle-caused fatalities per 100 million miles driven, SmartAsset used other data for its report on the state with the worst drivers in America. The site also factored in the most recent data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to calculate the rate of arrests due to driving under the influence (DUI) per 1,000 drivers, and Massachusetts had 1.90 DUI arrests per 1,000 drivers, according to the data.

49

Minnesota

Deaths per 100 million miles driven: 0.60

According to SmartAsset's research, there were 0.60 fatalities per 100 million miles driven in this Midwestern state, but more startling is the 5.86 DUI arrests per 1,000 drivers in Minnesota, which is among the top five highest rates in the U.S.

48

Vermont

Deaths per 100 million miles driven: 0.64

Vermont had a rate of 0.64 deaths per 100 million miles driven, a very low number. But the state had a relatively higher DUI arrest rate of 4.74 per 1,000 drivers, according to the FBI data.

47

New Jersey

Deaths per 100 million miles driven: 0.71

New Jersey saw 0.71 fatalities per 100 million miles driven, and there were 3.31 DUI arrests per 1,000 drivers, according to the latest FBI data, a rate lower than that of Vermont and Minnesota.

46

New Hampshire

Deaths per 100 million miles driven: 0.73

Among the relatively safe northeastern states for driving is New Hampshire, which saw 0.73 deaths for every 100 million miles driven in the state, along with a DUI arrest rate of 4.28 per 1,000 drivers.

In the event you find yourself driving in New Hampshire, do your best to avoid traveling on I-93, the most dangerous highway in the state, with a reported 60 deaths in the last 10 years, according to fleet vehicle tracking company Geotab. They used data from the NHTSA and Federal Highway Administration to determine the riskiest routes across the U.S.

45

New York

Deaths per 100 million miles driven: 0.75

New York is another one of the safer driving states in the country, and it's one of three with a rate of 0.75 fatalities per 100 million miles driven. However, of those three, it had the lowest DUI rate: 2.05 per 1,000 drivers.

44

Utah

Deaths per 100 million miles driven: 0.75

Like New York, Utah had 0.75 fatalities per 100 million miles driven, but the state's DUI arrest rate is slightly higher. In Utah, there were 2.40 DUI arrests per 1,000 drivers, according to the most recent FBI data.

If you find yourself driving in Utah, exercise caution on Route 89. With 131 fatalities in the last 10 years, it is considered to be the state's deadliest highway, according to the Geotab research.

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43

Rhode Island

Deaths per 100 million miles driven: 0.75

Though it's the third state on this list with 0.75 fatalities per 100 million miles driven, Rhode Island had the highest DUI arrest rate of the three, at 3.26 per 1,000 drivers, according to the FBI.

The most dangerous highway in Rhode Island is I-95, according to Geotab, which found that there were 40 fatalities along the route in the state in the last 10 years.

42

Connecticut

Deaths per 100 million miles driven: 0.79

Connecticut had a rate of 0.79 deaths per 100 million miles driven in the state. According to SmartAsset's worst driver index, the state had a relatively low DUI arrest rate, with 2.91 per 1,000 drivers.

41

Washington

Deaths per 100 million miles driven: 0.83

In Washington, SmartAsset's data analysis found that there were 0.83 deaths per 100 million miles driven, but the northwestern state had a high DUI arrest rate of 4.84 per 1,000 drivers.

40

Wisconsin

Deaths per 100 million miles driven: 0.85

There were 5.57 DUI arrests per 1,000 drivers in Wisconsin—one of the 10 highest rates in the U.S.—according to recent FBI data.

The state also saw 0.85 fatalities per 100 million miles driven. One particularly dangerous place to drive in Wisconsin is I-94: According to Geotab, the route is the deadliest highway in the state due to its fatal crash rate of 0.2 percent, and the 132 deaths that have occurred on the road in the last decade.

39

Maryland

Deaths per 100 million miles driven: 0.87

SmartAsset's research found that there were 4.07 DUI arrests per 1,000 drivers in Maryland, along with the 0.87 fatalities per 100 million miles driven.

38

Illinois

Deaths per 100 million miles driven: 0.94

There were 0.94 fatalities per 100 million miles driven in the state of Illinois, but only 0.05 DUI arrests per 1,000 drivers, according to the FBI data—that's the second lowest rate across all 50 states.

37

Michigan

Deaths per 100 million miles driven: 0.96

The vehicular death rate in Michigan is 0.96 per 100 million miles driven. But the most dangerous highway in the state is US-31, according to Geotab, which found that there were 123 fatalities along that route alone in the last 10 years.

The state also had 3.58 DUI arrests per 1,000 drivers, SmartAsset found.

36

Virginia

Deaths per 100 million miles driven: 0.97

According to SmartAsset's index, Virginia had a fatality rate of 0.97 percent 100 million miles driven and a DUI arrest rate of 3.46 per 1,000 drivers, putting it near the middle of the pack.

35

Indiana

Deaths per 100 million miles driven: 0.98

Indiana's DUI arrest rate of 1.86 per 1,000 drivers is better than average, and the state saw 0.98 deaths per 100 million miles driven, which is on the lower side based on other states on this list. But you especially want to steer clear of US-41 in the state. Due to its fatal crash rate of 0.7 percent, the route is considered to be the deadliest highway in Indiana, according to Geotab—111 deaths have occurred on the road in the last decade.

34

Hawaii

Deaths per 100 million miles driven: 0.98

It's not all sunshine and rainbows when it comes to driving in Hawaii. According to SmartAsset's index, there were about 0.98 fatalities for every 100 million miles driven in Hawaii and the state had a DUI arrest rate of 4.29 per 1,000 drivers.

33

Iowa

Deaths per 100 million miles driven: 1.00

In SmartAsset's report, Iowa had a slightly higher rate of fatalities per 100 million miles driven than Hawaii with 1.00, but its DUI arrest rate was slightly lower, at 4.25 per 1,000 drivers.

32

Ohio

Deaths per 100 million miles driven: 1.01

Based on SmartAsset's findings, Ohio had 1.01 deaths per 100 million miles driven and the DUI arrest rate in the state was relatively low at 1.53 per 1,000 drivers.

31

North Dakota

Deaths per 100 million miles driven: 1.02

North Dakota may not have had the highest rate of fatalities per 100 million miles driven, but it took the top spot when it came to DUI arrests with 8.68 per 1,000 drivers. On top of that, the state also saw 1.02 deaths per 100 million miles driven, so be extra careful when hitting the road in North Dakota.

30

Pennsylvania

Deaths per 100 million miles driven: 1.03

Based on SmartAsset's data analysis, drivers in Pennsylvania saw 1.03 deaths per 100 million miles driven, like the next state on this list. But the difference is that Pennsylvania had a low DUI arrest rate of 1.39 per 1,000 drivers.

29

South Dakota

Deaths per 100 million miles driven: 1.03

South Dakota had the second highest DUI arrest rate (8.65 per 1,000 drivers) in the country, behind only its neighboring state of North Dakota, SmartAsset's data analysis found. So, though it had the same driving fatality rate of 1.03 deaths per 100 million miles as Pennsylvania, its risk lies in the drunk drivers that seem to abound.

28

California

Deaths per 100 million miles driven: 1.06

The Golden State doesn't have the most shining reputation on the road, with 1.06 fatalities per 100 million miles driven. In particular, if you find yourself traveling on Route 140 in the state, stay alert. With 136 fatalities in the last 10 years, it is considered to be California's deadliest highway, according to research from Geotab.

California also had a relatively high amount of DUI arrests: 4.42 per 1,000 drivers, but that's not as high as the other two states on this list with the same death rate.

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27

Maine

Deaths per 100 million miles driven: 1.06

Like California, Maine saw 1.06 deaths per 100 million miles driven. But the New England state also had quite the high DUI arrest rate of 5.20 per 1,000 drivers.

26

Nevada

Deaths per 100 million miles driven: 1.06

Nevada is the last of three states that saw 1.06 fatalities per 100 million miles driven. However, its high DUI rate of 5.44 arrests per 1,000 drivers was the worst of the three, hence its higher position on this list.

25

Colorado

Deaths per 100 million miles driven: 1.09

Colorado had 1.09 deaths per 100 million miles driven, and had a high DUI arrest rate of 4.64 per 1,000 drivers. According to data from Geotab, US-160 is the deadliest highway in the state. It had a fatal crash rate of 0.9 percent, and of the 111 crashes on the road in the last 10 years, there were 135 fatalities.

24

Missouri

Deaths per 100 million miles driven: 1.11

SmartAsset's data analysis found that Missouri's DUI arrest rate was 3.33 per 1,000 drivers, which isn't as bad as many other states on this list. However, its driving fatality rate is slightly above average at 1.11 deaths per 100 million miles driven.

23

Georgia

Deaths per 100 million miles driven: 1.12

According to SmartAsset's research, there were 1.12 fatalities per 100 million miles driven in Georgia. However, this state had just 0.77 DUI arrests per 1,000 drivers, the fourth lowest rate nationwide.

22

North Carolina

Deaths per 100 million miles driven: 1.12

Like Georgia, North Carolina also had a fatality rate of 1.12 deaths for every 100 miles driven, but its DUI arrest rate of 1.53 per 1,000 drivers is a bit higher. That being said, North Carolina still doesn't fare nearly as badly as its neighbor to the south.

21

Alaska

Deaths per 100 million miles driven: 1.14

In addition to the 1.14 deaths per 100 million miles driven in this noncontiguous state, SmartAsset's data analysis also found that there was a high DUI arrest rate in Alaska, at 5.39 per 1,000 drivers.

20

Nebraska

Deaths per 100 million miles driven: 1.17

While this midwestern state had more deaths on the road than the average area in the U.S., with 1.17 fatalities per 100 million miles driven, Nebraska's DUI arrest rate—3.97 per 1,000 drivers, according to the most recently available FBI data—isn't the worst of the bunch.

19

Idaho

Deaths per 100 million miles driven: 1.24

Idaho is one of the more dangerous states to drive in. Not only is its death rate high at 1.24 per 100 million miles driven, but its DUI arrest rate is the fourth highest in the country at 6.30 per 1,000 drivers.

Specifically, the most dangerous highway in Idaho is US-95; there were 163 fatalities along the road in the state in the last 10 years, according to Geotab.

18

Texas

Deaths per 100 million miles driven: 1.25

The Lone Star State had a fatality rate of 1.25 per 100 million miles driven and a DUI arrest rate of 3.60 per 1,000 drivers, making it worse off than about two-thirds of the states on this list.

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17

Delaware

Deaths per 100 million miles driven: 1.29

Delaware's DUI arrest rate of 0.56 per 1,000 drivers is one of the lowest in the U.S., but that doesn't mean the state is totally safe to drive in. There were still 1.29 deaths for every 100 million miles driven, with the most dangerous highway in Delaware being I-80, according to Geotab. There were 112 fatalities along that route alone in the last 10 years, they found.

16

Kansas

Deaths per 100 million miles driven: 1.29

Kansas also saw 1.29 deaths per 100 million miles driven, but its DUI rate is higher than Delaware's at 2.63 per 1,000 drivers. With 155 vehicle-related fatalities occurring in the last 10 years, I-70 is Kansas' deadliest highway, according to data analyzed by Geotab.

15

Alabama

Deaths per 100 million miles driven: 1.30

According to SmartAsset's analysis, Alabama had the lowest DUI arrest rate nationwide, with just 0.01 per 1,000 drivers. But there was still a high rate of deaths on the road with 1.30 fatalities per 100 million miles driven.

14

West Virginia

Deaths per 100 million miles driven: 1.36

West Virginia had an average number of DUI arrests, with a rate of 2.11 per 1,000 drivers. But its death rate of 1.36 fatalities per 100 million miles driven is absolutely on the higher side.

One especially dangerous place to drive in West Virginia is US-19. The road is considered to be the deadliest highway in the state, according to Geotab, due to its fatal crash rate of 0.7 percent, and the 111 deaths that have occurred on the route in the last decade.

13

Arkansas

Deaths per 100 million miles driven: 1.36

Though it had the same fatality rate as West Virginia—1.36 deaths per 100 million miles driven—Arkansas had a slightly higher rate of DUI arrests at 2.84 per 1,000 drivers (though that's still about average for the U.S.).

In Arkansas, the deadliest highway, US-65, had a fatal crash rate of 1.2 percent, according to Geotab, and it's been the location of 120 fatalities over the last decade.

12

Tennessee

Deaths per 100 million miles driven: 1.37

If you find yourself driving in Tennessee, be careful about hitting I-40. With 517 fatalities in the last 10 years, it is considered the state's deadliest highway, according to research from Geotab.

Tennessee is one of two states with 1.37 deaths per 100 million miles driven, but its DUI arrest rate is slightly lower at 3.50 per 1,000 drivers.

11

Oregon

Deaths per 100 million miles driven: 1.37

Like Tennessee, Oregon also had 1.37 fatalities per 100 million miles driven, according to SmartAsset's research. But there were 4.25 DUI arrests per 1,000 drivers in the state, which puts it slightly past the southern state on this list.

10

Arizona

Deaths per 100 million miles driven: 1.40

Arizona's rate of deaths per 100 million miles driven—1.40—looks like it aligns with the state's deadliest road. According to data analysis from Geotab, I-40—the deadliest highway in the state—had a fatal crash rate of 0.3 percent. And among the 249 crashes on this road in the state in the last 10 years, there were 293 fatalities.

This southwestern state also had 3.36 DUI arrests per 1,000 drivers, according to the FBI data.

9

Florida

Deaths per 100 million miles driven: 1.41

The Sunshine State had a DUI arrest rate of 2.18 per 1,000 drivers, which is on the lower end, but its fatality rate was high at 1.41 deaths per 100 million miles driven.

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8

Louisiana

Deaths per 100 million miles driven: 1.42

While vehicular deaths were common in Louisiana—1.42 per 100 million miles driven—DUI arrests were on the low end in the state, at 1.60 per 1,000 drivers.

If you find yourself driving in Louisiana, be careful if traveling on US Highway 90. With 295 fatalities in the last 10 years, it is considered the state's deadliest highway, according to research from Geotab.

7

Oklahoma

Deaths per 100 million miles driven: 1.43

Oklahoma is one of a few southern states in the top 10 here. Like one other state on this list, it had a fatality rate of 1.43 percent 100 million miles driven, and its DUI arrest rate of 3.59 per 1,000 drivers is slightly lower than the next state up.

6

Montana

Deaths per 100 million miles driven: 1.43

Like Oklahoma, Montana saw 1.43 deaths per 100 million miles driven, but it had a higher DUI arrest rate of 4.53 per 1,000 drivers. And be warned: driving in Montana is especially dangerous if you are traveling on US-2. According to data analyzed by Geotab, the route saw more vehicle-related fatalities in the last 10 years than any other in the state—152, to be exact.

5

Wyoming

Deaths per 100 million miles driven: 1.44

SmartAsset's research found that there were 7.50 DUI arrests per 1,000 drivers in the state, which is the third highest in the country. That, along with the 1.44 fatalities per 100 million miles driven, makes Wyoming a potentially dangerous state to drive in.

4

Kentucky

Deaths per 100 million miles driven: 1.48

In addition to 1.48 fatalities per 100 million miles driven, Kentucky had 5.14 DUI arrests per 1,000 drivers, putting it among the top 10 highest rates in the U.S.

3

New Mexico

Deaths per 100 million miles driven: 1.53

New Mexico had the third highest death rate per 100 million miles driven in the U.S. at 1.53. However, its DUI arrest rate was higher than the remaining two states on this list at 2.89 per 1,000 drivers.

2

Mississippi

Deaths per 100 million miles driven: 1.63

There's only one state where more people are killed on the road than Mississippi. The state saw 1.63 deaths per 100 million miles driven and had a DUI arrest rate of 2.56, higher than No. 1 on this list.

The most dangerous highway in Mississippi is US-61, according to Geotab, which found that there were 139 fatalities along that route alone in the last 10 years.

1

South Carolina

Deaths per 100 million miles driven: 1.73

According to SmartAsset's research, there were 2.01 DUI arrests per 1,000 drivers in the state of South Carolina, which is lower than all but two states in the top 10. But with 1.73 fatalities per 100 million miles driven, South Carolina had more deaths on the road than any other state, making it the deadliest place to drive in the U.S.

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