It is sad that each year more people die in traffic accidents in the USA.
According to a report prepared by World Health Organization, each year (between 2000-2013) death numbers in car accidents increased.
Above map shows 2016 data of car accidents in the USA. Sadly, there were 37,460 deaths in total.
States With the Most Car Accidents – 2021 DATA
It is no secret that car accidents happen everywhere, every day. However, it may be a surprise that car accidents are the number one cause of death of Americans each year.
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected how much people drive and how many vehicles are on the road. In 2020, there were fewer fatal accidents than in previous years because there were not as many people in cars.
Read on for more information on the US states with the most car accidents, current statistics, and improvement efforts.
States With the Most Car Accidents
Below are the top ten states with the most car accidents, ranging from the deep South to the West Coast.
One of the only midwestern states in the top 10, Illinois boasts Chicago, sports teams, and world-famous pizza.
The total population of The Prairie State is 12.7 million. There are 107,954 driveable miles in Illinois and a fatality rate of 0.96 per million miles. In 2021, Illinois had 948 fatal crashes that resulted in 1,031 deaths.
Data from 2019 suggests most crashes happened in cars (39%). Single-vehicle crashes occurred 52% of the time, and 17% of incidents had pedestrian victims.
There were 497 confirmed deaths due to alcohol in Illinois during 2019. 82% of drunk drivers had a BAC over the legal limit.
The Palmetto State is famous for its beaches, history, and Southern hospitality, but it is also notorious for atrocious drivers.
South Carolina has a population of 5.2 million. With 56,801 vehicle miles and a death rate of 1.83, car accidents run rampant.
2019 data reports:
- 35% (351 instances) of crashes were in cars
- 55% (543 accidents) were single-vehicle
- 48% (302 occupants) did not wear seat belts
The most devastating statistic is the number of accidents caused by drunk drivers. Of the 462 people killed from alcohol-related crashes, 66% had BAC levels over the legal limit. For a state of this size, the death tolls are substantial.
Country music, stunning vistas, and delicious Southern food await in Tennessee. Mountain views and winding roads may result in car accidents, however, as the Volunteer State has the 8th most traffic fatalities in the US.
974 total crashes happened on the 81,321 vehicle miles in Tennessee. Those car accidents lead to 1,074 fatalities and a death rate of 1.28 per million miles.
Data collected in 2019 suggests that 28% of wrecks occurred in trucks, and 53% were single-vehicle incidents. Unlike some states on this list, Tennessee has a comparatively low rate of crashes caused by alcohol – 603, with 306 confirmed drunk drivers.
Small in stature but big in personality, the Buckeye State has some of the most enthusiastic sports fans, legendary halls of fame, and friendliest people in the states. As the seventh state with the highest car accident rate, the roads could use some work.
Ohio has 114,474 miles of road and a death rate of 0.93 per million miles. The total car accident count for 2021 is 996, with a death toll of 1,068. Data collected from 2019 crashes states:
- 40% (465 incidents) occurred in cars
- 597 people were either killed by drunk drivers or drove drunk
- 83% of those 597 were confirmed drunk
- 48% (382 occupants) did not wear restraints
Since Ohio is a small state, these numbers are drastic – especially considering its total population of 11.7 million.
Home to theme parks and lush landscapes, Pennsylvania is a beloved locale. That said, drastic snowfall and not-so-great roads place Pennsylvania at the sixth spot for most car accidents in the US.
2021 brought 1,103 car crashes and 1,190 vehicle deaths to the Keystone State. According to 2019 data, 37% of incidents involved cars, and 21% trucks or SUVs.
Of the 513 total individuals killed due to drunk driving (or drunk drivers), 323 were tested and known to be above the legal BAC limit – 63%.
The most predominant statistic for Pennsylvania is how many occupants did not wear restraints. 48%, or 322 people, did not wear seat belts during the crash – one of the highest counts in the country.
North Carolina has it all – rolling hills, towering mountain peaks, and the beloved Outer Banks. Unfortunately, these terrains often cause fatal accidents, making them fifth on the list for car-related deaths.
There are 121,127 vehicle miles in North Carolina. Of those miles were 1.19 deaths per million. In 2021, North Carolina saw 1,321 fatal crashes and 1,437 car crash fatalities. The total population of North Carolina is around 10.5 million.
Another statistic to note is the categories of people who died in vehicle-related incidents. A few for North Carolina are:
- 39% car occupants (529 people)
- 15% motorcyclists and pedestrians (208-209 people)
- 55% single-vehicle (755 people)
- 43% of 243 people were under the influence
North Carolina also had more rural car accidents than urban incidents. There were 745, or 54%, rural car fatalities in 2019.
Another Southern state, Georgia, is home to some of the most iconic historical landmarks and beautiful beaches in the US. However, the Peach State also has its fair share of car accidents.
In 2019, Georgia had a population of 10.6 million and 131,456 driveable miles. The counts for car fatalities in 2021 are:
- 1.14 per million miles
- 1,407 fatal crashes
- 1,504 vehicle fatalities
2019 data states that 38% of vehicle deaths were car occupants, 28% involved SUVs, and 51% were multi-vehicle crashes. Almost half (49%) of car accidents involved the influence of alcohol.
Unlike North Carolina, most vehicle deaths occurred in rural areas – 65%. 49% of fatalities were single-vehicle wrecks.
With millions of visitors each year, hundreds of tourist destinations, and stunning beaches, Florida is one of the busiest US states – even for car accidents.
Of the 221,816 driveable miles in Florida, Pedestrian car accidents have a remarkably high rate at 22% out of 3,133. Florida has a rate of 1.41 traffic deaths per million miles.
2019 contributors to the car accident rate in Florida are:
- 31% (975 people) were car occupants
- 19% (591 people) were motorcyclists
- 62% (727 incidents) involved alcohol
- 42% (669 occupants) were not wearing restraints
Tourists bring excitement, frivolity, and parties, so the amount of drivers under the influence of alcohol in Florida is quite a bit above most. Pedestrians are also more common in touristy areas, as most cities are walkable.
The only West Coast locale in the top 10, California takes second place for US car accident rates. Another state with tons of tourist attractions and visitors each year, California is also home to the most famous highways in the nation.
California nearly doubles the death counts in North Carolina for vehicle fatalities. As of 2019, the Golden State had 3,259 fatal car accidents on its expansive 348,796 driveable miles. Despite large death tolls, California has high population counts, so the rate per million is 1.02.
Pedestrian deaths from car accidents in 2019 accounted for 27% of 972 people. The most common crash type was single-vehicle at 56% (2,031 instances).
Perhaps the most disheartening statistic regarding California traffic deaths is that 71% of incidents involved alcohol. Around 950 people proved to have a BAC over the legal limit.
Urban areas in California had more traffic accidents than rural areas – 68% were in cities.
So, what is the US state with the most car accidents? Texas.
The Lone Star State had 3,642 vehicle deaths in 2021 and 3,305 fatal vehicle crashes. These crashes happened on the 282,037 miles of Texas roads, equalling a death rate of 1.29 per million miles.
Detailed statistics are:
- 34% (1,222 individuals) were pickup or SUV deaths
- 51% (1,827 people) were multi-vehicle crashes
- 50% (876 people) were driving drunk
- 38% (892 people) did not have on seat belts
Although Texas has plenty of rural, open space, 60% of crashes in 2019 occurred in urban areas. The total population of the Lone Star State is 29 million.
General Car Accident Information for All States
Each state is different, but some data patterns appear nationwide. Certain aspects of traffic accidents are the same among all states.
One of these is crash type or how a car gets hit. The four most common types of crashes are multiple vehicles, single vehicles, side-impact, and head-on.
Of course, other factors are at play when considering how fatal these crashes are – vehicle size, speed, and safety features all affect the likelihood of fatalities or lack thereof.
Human mistakes are one of the leading causes of vehicle collisions. Examples are:
- Distracted driving (texting)
- Car trouble
Things like car trouble are not always the result of human error or negligence, but the other factors are preventable. Despite nationwide efforts to alert drivers about texting and driving or driving under the influence, people continue to do so.
Moving Forward & Final Thoughts
While the data above is disheartening, the future looks bright. Focusing on distracted driving and driving under the influence are the main issues observed on roads nationwide.
As technology progresses, roads get safer. Cars equipped with breathalyzers are in production, as well as self-driving cars that detect potential dangers.
Car crashes are inevitable, but as long as drivers stay alert and focused, US roads will continue to become safer places to be.