State by state | 2008

The number and type of motor vehicle crash deaths differ widely among the 50 states and the District of Columbia. A state's population has an obvious effect on the number of motor vehicle deaths. Fatality rates per capita provide a way of examining motor vehicle deaths relative to a state's population. However, many factors can affect these rates, including amounts and types of travel, types of vehicles driven, higher speed traffic, rates of licensure, state traffic laws, emergency care capabilities, weather, and topography.

The following facts are based on analysis of data from the U.S. Department of Transportation's Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS).

Fatal crash totals

There were 34,017 fatal motor vehicle crashes in the United States in 2008 in which 37,261 deaths occurred. This resulted in a national motor vehicle death rate of 12.3 deaths per 100,000 people. Motor vehicle death rates varied among states from a low of 5.6 deaths per 100,000 people in Massachusetts, to a high of 29.8 deaths per 100,000 people in Wyoming.

States with lowest and highest rates of motor vehicle crash deaths per 100,000 people, 2008

Population, fatal motor vehicle crashes, crash deaths, and crash deaths per 100,000 people by state, 2008
State Population Fatal crashes Deaths
Num Num Death rate
Alabama 4,661,900 888 966 20.7
Alaska 686,293 55 62 9.0
Arizona 6,500,180 842 937 14.4
Arkansas 2,855,390 552 600 21.0
California 36,756,666 3,145 3,434 9.3
Colorado 4,939,456 473 548 11.1
Connecticut 3,501,252 243 264 7.5
Delaware 873,092 105 121 13.9
District of Columbia 591,833 32 34 5.7
Florida 18,328,340 2,760 2,978 16.2
Georgia 9,685,744 1,368 1,493 15.4
Hawaii 1,288,198 102 107 8.3
Idaho 1,523,816 212 232 15.2
Illinois 12,901,563 950 1,043 8.1
Indiana 6,376,792 721 814 12.8
Iowa 3,002,555 368 412 13.7
Kansas 2,802,134 348 385 13.7
Kentucky 4,269,245 752 826 19.3
Louisiana 4,410,796 817 912 20.7
Maine 1,316,456 144 155 11.8
Maryland 5,633,597 538 591 10.5
Massachusetts 6,497,967 337 363 5.6
Michigan 10,003,422 915 980 9.8
Minnesota 5,220,393 421 456 8.7
Mississippi 2,938,618 711 783 26.6
Missouri 5,911,605 845 960 16.2
Montana 967,440 208 229 23.7
Nebraska 1,783,432 188 208 11.7
Nevada 2,600,167 304 324 12.5
New Hampshire 1,315,809 128 139 10.6
New Jersey 8,682,661 555 590 6.8
New Mexico 1,984,356 324 366 18.4
New York 19,490,297 1,167 1,231 6.3
North Carolina 9,222,414 1,324 1,433 15.5
North Dakota 641,481 97 104 16.2
Ohio 11,485,910 1,098 1,190 10.4
Oklahoma 3,642,361 670 749 20.6
Oregon 3,790,060 369 416 11.0
Pennsylvania 12,448,279 1,358 1,468 11.8
Rhode Island 1,050,788 63 65 6.2
South Carolina 4,479,800 840 920 20.5
South Dakota 804,194 107 119 14.8
Tennessee 6,214,888 950 1,035 16.7
Texas 24,326,974 3,031 3,382 13.9
Utah 2,736,424 244 275 10.0
Vermont 621,270 66 73 11.8
Virginia 7,769,089 763 824 10.6
Washington 6,549,224 481 521 8.0
West Virginia 1,814,468 338 380 20.9
Wisconsin 5,627,967 561 605 10.7
Wyoming 532,668 139 159 29.8
US total 304,059,724 34,017 37,261 12.3

Deaths by road user

In 2008, the types of motor vehicle crash deaths varied across states. For example, New Mexico had the lowest percentage of deaths involving car occupants (28 percent) and the highest percentage of deaths involving occupants of SUVs and pickups (40 percent). In contrast, New York had relatively high proportions of car occupant deaths (43 percent) and pedestrian deaths (24 percent), and a relatively low percentage of deaths involving SUV or pickup occupants (11 percent). The highest percentage of motorcyclist deaths occurred in New Hampshire (22 percent), and the percentage of pedestrian deaths was highest in the District of Columbia (26 percent).

Motor vehicle crash deaths by type and state, 2008
State Car occupants Pickup and SUV occupants Large truck occupants Motorcyclists Pedestrians Total motor vehicle deaths*
Num % Num % Num % Num % Num % Num
Alabama 438 45 298 31 25 3 98 10 66 7 966
Alaska 27 44 15 24 1 2 8 13 3 5 62
Arizona 300 32 260 28 17 2 137 15 120 13 937
Arkansas 234 39 205 34 18 3 64 11 45 8 600
California 1,366 40 629 18 32 1 548 16 620 18 3,434
Colorado 203 37 169 31 10 2 95 17 44 8 548
Connecticut 124 47 37 14 2 1 55 21 37 14 264
Delaware 47 39 28 23 0 0 16 13 21 17 121
District of Columbia 14 41 0 0 0 0 7 21 9 26 34
Florida 1,047 35 659 22 32 1 534 18 490 16 2,978
Georgia 638 43 437 29 31 2 169 11 146 10 1,493
Hawaii 37 35 20 19 1 1 23 21 20 19 107
Idaho 86 37 83 36 11 5 28 12 11 5 232
Illinois 472 45 233 22 10 1 129 12 135 13 1,043
Indiana 399 49 168 21 11 1 114 14 54 7 814
Iowa 195 47 110 27 9 2 51 12 17 4 412
Kansas 167 43 133 35 6 2 45 12 19 5 385
Kentucky 370 45 224 27 19 2 97 12 67 8 826
Louisiana 355 39 304 33 25 3 78 9 106 12 912
Maine 78 50 32 21 6 4 18 12 12 8 155
Maryland 259 44 95 16 6 1 82 14 116 20 591
Massachusetts 175 48 51 14 2 1 39 11 75 21 363
Michigan 436 44 221 23 6 1 123 13 114 12 980
Minnesota 205 45 98 21 9 2 69 15 26 6 456
Mississippi 340 43 250 32 13 2 38 5 50 6 783
Missouri 452 47 288 30 14 1 99 10 63 7 960
Montana 79 34 85 37 5 2 36 16 11 5 229
Nebraska 99 48 73 35 5 2 19 9 5 2 208
Nevada 102 31 92 28 0 0 56 17 56 17 324
New Hampshire 67 48 28 20 1 1 30 22 7 5 139
New Jersey 236 40 88 15 12 2 81 14 135 23 590
New Mexico 102 28 148 40 12 3 45 12 39 11 366
New York 530 43 135 11 7 1 181 15 294 24 1,231
North Carolina 687 48 333 23 21 1 141 10 160 11 1,433
North Dakota 39 38 37 36 4 4 12 12 6 6 104
Ohio 560 47 228 19 19 2 212 18 98 8 1,190
Oklahoma 285 38 279 37 23 3 84 11 51 7 749
Oregon 172 41 116 28 4 1 48 12 51 12 416
Pennsylvania 695 47 309 21 25 2 235 16 137 9 1,468
Rhode Island 33 51 11 17 0 0 7 11 12 18 65
South Carolina 400 43 248 27 18 2 111 12 100 11 920
South Dakota 53 45 39 33 1 1 15 13 9 8 119
Tennessee 479 46 290 28 16 2 143 14 60 6 1,035
Texas 1,173 35 1,050 31 76 2 512 15 416 12 3,382
Utah 102 37 76 28 7 3 34 12 32 12 275
Vermont 39 53 24 33 1 1 7 10 1 1 73
Virginia 414 50 191 23 17 2 82 10 76 9 824
Washington 243 47 107 21 9 2 78 15 63 12 521
West Virginia 156 41 132 35 5 1 51 13 13 3 380
Wisconsin 298 49 120 20 5 1 87 14 53 9 605
Wyoming 59 37 61 38 8 5 20 13 7 4 159
US total 15,566 42 9,347 25 617 2 5,091 14 4,378 12 37,261
*Total includes other and/or unknowns

Crash types

Nationwide, 53 percent of passenger vehicle occupant deaths in 2008 occurred in single-vehicle crashes. The highest proportions of single-vehicle crash deaths occurred in Rhode Island (66 percent) and South Carolina (64 percent).

Passenger vehicle occupant deaths by crash type and state, 2008
State Single-vehicle Multiple-vehicle All crashes*
Num % Num % Num
Alabama 448 59 305 41 753
Alaska 16 37 27 63 43
Arizona 317 54 268 46 585
Arkansas 267 60 179 40 447
California 1,040 51 992 49 2,035
Colorado 191 51 187 49 378
Connecticut 99 61 63 39 163
Delaware 34 44 44 56 78
District of Columbia 5 36 9 64 14
Florida 866 50 866 50 1,733
Georgia 547 50 542 50 1,089
Hawaii 31 54 26 46 57
Idaho 105 61 67 39 172
Illinois 371 51 351 49 723
Indiana 273 46 315 54 588
Iowa 145 46 168 54 313
Kansas 161 53 142 47 303
Kentucky 326 54 273 46 599
Louisiana 371 55 299 45 670
Maine 57 52 53 48 110
Maryland 162 44 204 56 366
Massachusetts 145 63 84 37 229
Michigan 304 45 368 55 672
Minnesota 138 44 175 56 314
Mississippi 411 63 241 37 652
Missouri 415 55 336 45 751
Montana 105 63 62 37 167
Nebraska 78 45 97 55 175
Nevada 98 50 96 49 195
New Hampshire 51 53 46 47 97
New Jersey 170 51 162 49 332
New Mexico 158 63 94 37 252
New York 340 50 341 50 681
North Carolina 579 56 455 44 1,034
North Dakota 48 62 29 38 77
Ohio 395 48 420 51 816
Oklahoma 300 53 270 47 570
Oregon 172 59 119 41 291
Pennsylvania 515 50 507 50 1,022
Rhode Island 29 66 15 34 44
South Carolina 423 64 234 36 659
South Dakota 58 63 34 37 92
Tennessee 457 59 321 41 778
Texas 1,110 49 1,147 51 2,257
Utah 97 54 82 46 179
Vermont 32 51 31 49 63
Virginia 379 61 238 39 617
Washington 175 50 175 50 352
West Virginia 186 63 108 37 295
Wisconsin 214 50 211 50 425
Wyoming 68 56 53 44 121
US total 13,482 53 11,931 47 25,428
*Total includes other and/or unknowns

Alcohol involvement

Some states report blood alcohol concentration (BAC) for only a small percentage of fatally injured passenger vehicle drivers. If BAC is missing for a driver, it is imputed by the US Department of Transportation’s multiple imputation model. Subramanian, R. 2002. Transitioning to multiple imputation — a new method to impute missing blood alcohol concentration (BAC) values in FARS. Report no. DOT HS-809-403. Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. However, BAC information is most precise in states that report a high percentage of BACs. In the following table, estimated percentages of fatally injured drivers with BACs at or above 0.08 percent are shown only for states in which BAC reporting was 70 percent or higher. Estimated percentages are based on known BAC when available and imputed BAC for the remaining drivers.

For the nation in 2008, BAC was reported for 70 percent of fatally injured passenger vehicle drivers. Maine reported BACs for 95 percent of fatally injured passenger vehicle drivers, while Alaska reported BACs for 23 percent. Among states with reporting rates of at least 70 percent, Wyoming (50 percent) had the highest estimated percentage of fatally injured drivers with BACs of 0.08 percent or higher, and Vermont (22 percent) had the lowest.

Estimated number and percent of fatally injured passenger vehicle drivers with BAC ≥ 0.08 percent by state, 2008
State Drivers killed with known BAC results Total drivers killed Estimated drivers killed with BAC ≥ 0.08
Num % Num Num %
Alabama 361 63 573 * *
Alaska 6 23 26 * *
Arizona 236 67 352 * *
Arkansas 277 81 344 108 31
California 1,251 92 1,361 468 34
Colorado 206 78 264 88 33
Connecticut 94 76 123 45 37
Delaware 38 70 54 24 45
District of Columbia 3 33 9 * *
Florida 787 64 1,233 * *
Georgia 445 55 809 * *
Hawaii 42 93 45 21 46
Idaho 96 81 118 50 42
Illinois 456 88 518 191 37
Indiana 295 70 420 113 27
Iowa 59 26 223 * *
Kansas 142 64 223 * *
Kentucky 308 70 442 * *
Louisiana 253 54 470 * *
Maine 84 95 88 26 30
Maryland 218 83 264 73 28
Massachusetts 127 73 174 75 43
Michigan 316 67 473 * *
Minnesota 196 86 228 68 30
Mississippi 129 26 500 * *
Missouri 423 79 536 181 34
Montana 97 85 114 56 49
Nebraska 103 80 129 37 29
Nevada 120 88 136 54 40
New Hampshire 67 89 75 22 29
New Jersey 194 84 230 77 34
New Mexico 131 90 146 58 39
New York 328 68 482 * *
North Carolina 633 85 745 264 36
North Dakota 43 84 51 23 44
Ohio 546 91 599 186 31
Oklahoma 360 90 402 129 32
Oregon 185 91 204 75 37
Pennsylvania 596 77 773 269 35
Rhode Island 26 70 37 16 44
South Carolina 359 75 481 230 48
South Dakota 56 89 63 26 41
Tennessee 149 25 598 * *
Texas 896 57 1,579 * *
Utah 58 48 122 * *
Vermont 33 87 38 8 22
Virginia 216 47 457 * *
Washington 240 91 263 102 39
West Virginia 197 89 221 65 30
Wisconsin 275 90 307 106 35
Wyoming 62 78 79 39 50
US total 12,818 70 18,201 6,332 35
*Cells with missing data have insufficient reporting of BAC results by state
or reliably estimating percent of fatally injured drivers with BAC ≥ 0.08 percent

Restraint use

When examining restraint use among fatally injured motor vehicle occupants, it is important to note that percentages will be lower than observed restraint use because unrestrained occupants are more likely than restrained occupants to be fatally injured. Restrained occupants include occupants in child safety seats and occupants restrained by safety belts.

The percentage of fatally injured passenger vehicle occupants who were restrained in 2008 varied by state. Tennessee (15 percent) and West Virginia (15 percent) had the lowest percentages of fatally injured occupants who were restrained, and California had the highest (58 percent). The District of Columbia (29 percent) had the highest proportion of unknowns. For the nation, 42 percent of fatally injured occupants were restrained.

Number and percent of fatally injured passenger vehicle occupants by restraint use and state, 2008
State Restrained Unrestrained Unknown Total
Num % Num % Num % Num
Alabama 272 36 453 60 28 4 753
Alaska 19 44 21 49 3 7 43
Arizona 197 25 321 55 67 11 585
Arkansas 142 32 267 60 38 9 447
California 1,176 58 707 35 152 7 2,035
Colorado 186 31 173 46 19 5 378
Connecticut 68 42 70 43 25 15 163
Delaware 40 51 29 37 9 12 78
District of Columbia 5 36 5 36 4 29 14
Florida 687 40 1,004 58 42 2 1,733
Georgia 406 37 579 53 104 10 1,089
Hawaii 25 44 27 47 5 9 57
Idaho 63 27 104 60 5 3 172
Illinois 324 36 339 47 60 8 723
Indiana 264 45 264 45 60 10 588
Iowa 127 41 144 46 42 13 313
Kansas 96 22 186 61 21 7 303
Kentucky 214 27 384 64 1 < 1 599
Louisiana 213 23 396 59 61 9 670
Maine 52 47 46 42 12 11 110
Maryland 202 55 143 39 21 6 366
Massachusetts 69 30 120 52 40 17 229
Michigan 346 51 241 36 85 13 672
Minnesota 153 39 125 40 36 11 314
Mississippi 220 34 432 66 . . 652
Missouri 216 29 488 65 47 6 751
Montana 46 28 117 70 4 2 167
Nebraska 69 39 91 52 15 9 175
Nevada 96 40 90 46 9 5 195
New Hampshire 25 26 72 74 . . 97
New Jersey 160 39 165 50 7 2 332
New Mexico 121 48 128 51 3 1 252
New York 345 51 232 34 104 15 681
North Carolina 498 48 478 46 58 6 1,034
North Dakota 18 23 56 73 3 4 77
Ohio 332 41 443 54 41 5 816
Oklahoma 197 35 339 59 34 6 570
Oregon 167 48 92 32 32 11 291
Pennsylvania 338 33 559 55 125 12 1,022
Rhode Island 11 25 29 66 4 9 44
South Carolina 215 33 412 63 32 5 659
South Dakota 28 30 59 64 5 5 92
Tennessee 263 15 458 59 57 7 778
Texas 1,118 22 958 42 181 8 2,257
Utah 96 54 70 39 13 7 179
Vermont 31 49 27 43 5 8 63
Virginia 223 36 374 61 20 3 617
Washington 198 56 126 36 28 8 352
West Virginia 98 15 157 53 40 14 295
Wisconsin 161 38 224 53 40 9 425
Wyoming 35 29 83 69 3 2 121
US total 10,671 42 12,907 51 1,850 7 25,428

Rural versus urban

Sixty-two percent of passenger vehicle occupant deaths in 2008 occurred in rural areas. The states with the greatest proportion of passenger vehicle occupant deaths on rural roads were New Hampshire and South Carolina (96 percent).

Number and percent of fatally injured passenger vehicle occupants by land use and state, 2008
State Urban Rural Unknown Total
Num % Num % Num % Num
Alabama 231 31 497 66 25 3 753
Alaska 9 21 34 79 0 0 43
Arizona 251 43 334 57 0 0 585
Arkansas 100 22 347 78 0 0 447
California 1,085 53 950 47 0 0 2,035
Colorado 138 37 240 63 0 0 378
Connecticut 128 79 35 21 0 0 163
Delaware 21 27 56 72 1 1 78
District of Columbia 14 100 0 0 0 0 14
Florida 896 52 760 44 77 4 1,733
Georgia 461 42 542 50 86 8 1,089
Hawaii 19 33 38 67 0 0 57
Idaho 28 16 144 84 0 0 172
Illinois 381 53 342 47 0 0 723
Indiana 211 36 377 64 0 0 588
Iowa 43 14 270 86 0 0 313
Kansas 61 20 242 80 0 0 303
Kentucky 105 18 494 82 0 0 599
Louisiana 275 41 395 59 0 0 670
Maine 8 7 102 93 0 0 110
Maryland 206 56 160 44 0 0 366
Massachusetts 206 90 23 10 0 0 229
Michigan 240 36 432 64 0 0 672
Minnesota 85 27 229 73 0 0 314
Mississippi 115 18 537 82 0 0 652
Missouri 251 33 500 67 0 0 751
Montana 12 7 155 93 0 0 167
Nebraska 15 9 160 91 0 0 175
Nevada 98 50 97 50 0 0 195
New Hampshire 4 4 93 96 0 0 97
New Jersey 282 85 48 14 2 1 332
New Mexico 51 20 201 80 0 0 252
New York 273 40 408 60 0 0 681
North Carolina 275 27 759 73 0 0 1,034
North Dakota 7 9 70 91 0 0 77
Ohio 271 33 545 67 0 0 816
Oklahoma 160 28 410 72 0 0 570
Oregon 63 22 228 78 0 0 291
Pennsylvania 400 39 622 61 0 0 1,022
Rhode Island 28 64 11 25 5 11 44
South Carolina 25 4 634 96 0 0 659
South Dakota 6 7 86 93 0 0 92
Tennessee 295 38 483 62 0 0 778
Texas 883 39 1,314 58 60 3 2,257
Utah 50 28 129 72 0 0 179
Vermont 11 17 52 83 0 0 63
Virginia 214 35 402 65 1 < 1 617
Washington 135 38 213 61 4 1 352
West Virginia 83 28 209 71 3 1 295
Wisconsin 125 29 300 71 0 0 425
Wyoming 15 12 106 88 0 0 121
US total 9,349 37 15,815 62 264 1 25,428

References