Car accidents by state

The number of fatal car accidents varies from state-to-state and has a lot to do with population size. Here are the facts and figures behind the annual number of fatal motor vehicle accidents in all 50 U.S. states.

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By

Kara McGinley

Kara McGinley

Senior Editor & Licensed Home Insurance Expert

Kara McGinley is a senior editor and licensed home insurance expert at Policygenius, where she writes about homeowners and renters insurance. As a journalist and as an insurance expert, her work and insights have been featured in Kiplinger, Lifehacker, MSN, WRAL.com, and elsewhere.

&Rachael Brennan

Rachael Brennan

Senior Editor & Licensed Auto Insurance Expert

Rachael Brennan is a senior editor and a licensed auto insurance expert at Policygenius. Her work has also been featured in MoneyGeek, Clearsurance, Adweek, Boston Globe, The Ladders, and AutoInsurance.com.

Updated|2 min read

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The number of car accident deaths varies greatly across all 50 states and the District of Columbia. There are a number of factors that can affect the statistics when comparing motor vehicle fatalities on a state by state basis, including weather, types of vehicles involved, number of passengers, travel speeds, topography, and more.

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It’s also important to factor in a state’s population when examining the number of car accident fatalities in each state. Using data from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, we compared the number of motor vehicle fatalities in every state, taking into account each state’s total population.

Key takeaways

  • In 2020, there were 35,766 fatal car accidents across the United States.

  • California had the most fatal crashes in the country, 3,558, and Washington D.C. had the least, 34.

  • The five states with the most fatal crashes in 2020 were California, Texas, Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina.

  • The five states with the least fatal crashes in the country in 2020 were Washington D.C., Alaska, Vermont, Rhode Island, and Hawaii.

List of car accidents by state

copy-car-accidents-by-state

Car accidents can happen everywhere, no matter what state you live in. In 2020, there were 35,766 fatal car accidents across the United States. The table below is a state-by-state breakdown of fatal motor vehicle crashes and motor vehicle crash deaths per all 50 states and Washington D.C. as of 2020, according to the IIHS. [1]

State

Population

Fatal crashes

Deaths

Alabama

5,024,803

852

934

Alaska

732,441

53

64

Arizona

7,177,986

967

1,054

Arkansas

3,012,232

585

638

California

39,499,738

3,558

3,847

Colorado

5,784,308

574

622

Connecticut

3,600,260

279

295

Delaware

991,886

104

116

District of Columbia

690,093

34

36

Florida

21,569,932

3,098

3,331

Georgia

10,725,800

1,522

1,664

Hawaii

1,451,911

81

85

Idaho

1,847,772

188

214

Illinois

12,785,245

1,087

1,194

Indiana

6,785,644

815

897

Iowa

3,188,669

304

337

Kansas

2,935,880

382

426

Kentucky

4,503,958

709

780

Louisiana

4,651,203

762

828

Maine

1,362,280

151

164

Maryland

6,172,679

540

567

Massachusetts

7,022,220

327

343

Michigan

10,067,664

1,011

1,084

Minnesota

5,707,165

369

394

Mississippi

2,956,870

687

752

Missouri

6,154,481

914

987

Montana

1,086,193

190

213

Nebraska

1,961,455

217

233

Nevada

3,114,071

293

317

New Hampshire

1,377,848

98

104

New Jersey

9,279,743

547

584

New Mexico

2,117,566

365

398

New York

20,154,933

963

1,046

North Carolina

10,457,177

1,412

1,538

North Dakota

778,962

96

100

Ohio

11,790,587

1,154

1,230

Oklahoma

3,962,031

599

652

Oregon

4,241,544

461

508

Pennsylvania

12,989,625

1,060

1,129

Rhode Island

1,096,229

66

67

South Carolina

5,130,729

962

1,064

South Dakota

887,099

132

141

Tennessee

6,920,119

1,119

1,217

Texas

29,217,653

3,520

3,874

Utah

3,281,684

256

276

Vermont

642,495

58

62

Virginia

8,632,044

796

850

Washington

7,718,785

525

560

West Virginia

1,789,798

249

267

Wisconsin

5,892,323

561

614

Wyoming

577,267

114

127

U.S. total

331,501,080

35,766

38,824

→ Learn about how much car insurance rates go up after an accident

Car accident statistics at a glance

In 2020, the number of motor vehicle fatalities varied widely across all 50 states. California had the highest number of fatal crashes, 3,558, and Washington D.C. had the lowest, 34.

Population size is an important factor — California’s population is nearly 56 times that of Washington D.C., and Californians may be driving longer distances more frequently than D.C. drivers.

Insurance companies know that more people on the road can lead to more car accidents, which is part of the reason why drivers who live in big cities or dense areas often pay more for car insurance than drivers who live in less population-dense locales.

29% - Percentage of motor vehicle fatalities involving an SUV or pickup in Wisconsin in 2020

38,824 - Total number of fatalities from car accidents in all 50 states in 2020

55% - Percentage of deaths in single vehicle crashes nationwide in 2020

90% - Percentage of seat belt use by front seat occupants nationwide in 2020

$11,556 - The average medical cost for people injured in a car accident in 2020

13% - Percentage of all U.S. drivers who were uninsured in 2019, that’s one in eight drivers

43% - Percentage of motor vehicle deaths that occurred in rural areas nationwide in 2020

77% - Percentage of motor vehicle deaths in South Dakota that took place on rural roads in 2020

Data sources: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Insurance Research Council, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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States with the most car accidents

In 2020, the following states reported the highest numbers of fatal car accidents in the U.S.:

  1. California: 3,847 deaths out of 3,558 accidents

  2. Texas: 3,874 deaths out of 3,520 accidents

  3. Florida: 3,331 deaths out of 2,950 accidents

  4. Georgia: 1,664 deaths out of 1,522 accidents 

  5. North Carolina: 1,538 deaths out of 1,412 accidents

States with the least car accidents

The states with the lowest number of fatal car accidents are also some of the least populated, and are:

  1. Washington, D.C.: 36 deaths out of 34 accidents

  2. Alaska: 53 deaths out of 64 accidents

  3. Vermont: 62 deaths out of 58 accidents

  4. Rhode Island: 67 deaths out of 66 accidents 

  5. Hawaii: 85 deaths out of 81 accidents

Frequently asked questions

What is the number one leading cause of vehicle accidents in the US?

Most accidents tend to happen because of distracted driving and speeding, with young drivers being the most affected by both, according to experts. Alcohol and drug impairment tend to be the main contributors of speeding, but slick roads and extreme weather can also cause drivers to drive faster than the speed limit.

Where do the most car accidents happen in the US?

A study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information found that out of 1,644 patients involved in car accidents, 1,267 of them were injured within 10 miles of their home. And more people on the road also means more accidents, so it makes sense that California had the most fatal car accidents out of any state in 2019 with 3,316.

What car has the most accidents?

According to a report from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the make and model that had the highest rate of death in single-vehicle rollover crashes in 2017 was the Ford Fiesta, with 141 driver deaths per million registered vehicle years. The Hyundai Accent, another subcompact car, had the next highest death rate at 116 per million registered vehicle years.

What city has the most car accidents?

According to Allstate’s 2019 Best Drivers report, Baltimore is the U.S. city with the most car accidents in the nation. Baltimore drivers average one accident every 4.19 years.

References

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  1. IIHS.org

    . "

    State by state fatal crash totals

    ." Accessed September 20, 2022.

Authors

Senior Editor & Licensed Home Insurance Expert

Kara McGinley

Senior Editor & Licensed Home Insurance Expert

gray linkedin icon link

Kara McGinley is a senior editor and licensed home insurance expert at Policygenius, where she writes about homeowners and renters insurance. As a journalist and as an insurance expert, her work and insights have been featured in Kiplinger, Lifehacker, MSN, WRAL.com, and elsewhere.

Senior Editor & Licensed Auto Insurance Expert

Rachael Brennan

Senior Editor & Licensed Auto Insurance Expert

gray linkedin icon link

Rachael Brennan is a senior editor and a licensed auto insurance expert at Policygenius. Her work has also been featured in MoneyGeek, Clearsurance, Adweek, Boston Globe, The Ladders, and AutoInsurance.com.

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