Crashes took 35,092 lives in the U.S. in 2015.
The number and types 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 and per vehicle miles traveled provide a way of examining motor vehicle deaths relative to the population and amount of driving. However, many factors can affect these rates, including types of vehicles driven, travel speeds, 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).
Posted February 2016.
There were 29,989 fatal motor vehicle crashes in the United States in 2014 in which 32,675 deaths occurred. This resulted in 10.2 deaths per 100,000 people and 1.08 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled. The fatality rate per 100,000 people ranged from 3.5 in the District of Columbia to 25.7 in Wyoming. The death rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled ranged from 0.57 in Massachusetts to 1.65 in South Carolina.
Federal Highway Administration. 2015. Highway statistics, 2014. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Transportation.
In 2014, the types of motor vehicle crash deaths varied across states. For example, Wyoming had the highest percentage of deaths involving occupants of SUVs and pickups (49 percent) and one of the lowest proportions of deaths including car occupants (29 percent). In contrast, Massachusetts had one of the highest proportions of car occupant deaths (48 percent), a relatively high proportion of pedestrian deaths (21 percent), and a relatively low percentage of deaths involving SUV or pickup occupants (12 percent). The highest percentage of motorcyclist deaths occurred in Colorado, Connecticut, Nevada and Rhode Island (19 percent each). The percentage of pedestrian deaths was highest in the District of Columbia (39 percent).
Nationwide, 56 percent of motor vehicle crash deaths in 2014 occurred in single-vehicle crashes. The largest proportion of deaths in single-vehicle crashes occurred in Rhode Island (77 percent), Hawaii (71 percent), and the District of Columbia and Montana (70 percent), whereas the smallest proportion occurred in Minnesota (43 percent).
Some states report blood alcohol concentration (BAC) for only a small percentage of passenger vehicle drivers. If BAC is missing for a driver, it is estimated by the U.S. 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 passenger vehicle drivers with BACs at or above 0.08 percent are shown only for states in which BAC reporting for fatally injured drivers 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 2014, BAC was reported for 72 percent of fatally injured passenger vehicle drivers. New Hampshire reported BACs for 96 percent of fatally injured passenger vehicle drivers, while Mississippi reported BACs for 42 percent.
Thirty-five states and the District of Columbia had BAC reporting rates of at least 70 percent. Among these states, Montana had the highest estimated percentage of fatally injured drivers with BACs of 0.08 percent or higher (49 percent), and Utah had the lowest (18 percent).
Based on daytime observational surveys conducted by the states, the rate of safety belt use among front seat passenger vehicle occupants in 2014 ranged from 70 percent in New Hampshire to 98 percent in Oregon.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 2015. Seat belt use in 2014 — use rates in the states and territories. Report no. DOT HS-812-149. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Transportation.
Rates of restraint use among fatally injured motor vehicle occupants will be lower than observed restraint use because unrestrained occupants are more likely than restrained occupants to be fatally injured in a crash. Restrained fatally injured occupants include occupants in child safety seats and occupants restrained by safety belts. Five states (California, Delaware, Maine, New York, and Rhode Island) and the District of Columbia had at least 60 percent restraint use among fatally injured passenger vehicle occupants. In contrast, five states (Alaska, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, and South Dakota) had use rates below 30 percent.
Nationwide, 51 percent of motor vehicle deaths in 2014 occurred in rural areas. The percentage on rural roads was 93 percent in Montana, 91 percent in Mississippi, and 89 percent in Maine compared with 14 percent in New Jersey, 12 percent in Rhode Island, 10 percent in Massachusetts, and none in the District of Columbia.
©1996-2016, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Highway Loss Data Institute | www.iihs.org
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