Which States Have the Most Dangerous Roads?

In the U.S., nearly 43,000 people died in crashes in 2021. A recent analysis evaluates states for roadway danger. - Photo: PxHere.com

In the U.S., nearly 43,000 people died in crashes in 2021. A recent analysis evaluates states for roadway danger.

Photo: PxHere.com

Mississippi ranks as the state with the most deadly roads, having scored the highest overall Road Danger Rating of 9.93 in a recent analysis from 1-800-Injured.

To determine how dangerous a state’s roads are, 1-800-Injured looked at a number of factors: fatality rates per 100,000 population, per 100,000 vehicle miles traveled, per number of licensed drivers, as well as road quality. Then they crunched the numbers and combined them into a single Road Danger Rating.

Mississippi, for example, has the highest road fatality rate compared to its population, with 25.39 deaths per 100,000 people. The state also sees 18.96 road deaths for every billion vehicle miles traveled — which is the second highest of all states.

Top 10 Road Fatalities per 100 Million Vehicle Miles Travelled (VMT)

 Rank  Size Motor Vehicle Fatalities Vehicle Miles Travelled (VMT) (Millions) Fatality Rate per Billion VMT
1 South Carolina 1,064 53,972 19.71
2 Mississippi 752 39,665 18.96
3 Arkansas 638 33,919 18.81
4 Montana 213 12,104 17.60
5 Louisiana 828 48,374 17.12
6 Kentucky 780 46,536 16.76
7 New Mexico 398 23,756 16.75
8 West Virginia 267 16,054 16.63
9 Arizona 1,054 65,758 16.03
10 Florida 3,331 208,076 16.01

Other states that ranked among the top five for road danger include Arkansas and South Carolina, both with an overall road danger rating of 9.59, followed by Montana (9.12) and New Mexico (8.98).

In joint second place are Arkansas and South Carolina. Arkansas had the higher fatality rate compared to population at 21.19 versus South Carolina’s rate of 20.79. But South Carolina had an incredibly high rate of deaths compared to vehicle miles traveled — specifically, 19.71 as compared to Arkansas’ 18.81.

The report also assesses road quality among all states. Rhode Island is the state with the worst quality road surfaces in the country, receiving a score of just 0.61. Rhode Island has the highest percentage of its roads rated “poor” for roughness, while also having one of the highest proportions of roads with heavy cracking.

Louisiana has the second-worst quality roads in the nation. Louisiana’s roads suffer from particularly high levels of rutting, with 14.35% of roads being affected.

New York earns third place for worst road quality. The Empire State’s roads suffer from a high rate of cracking and a moderately high rate of rutting, while also having one of the largest proportions of its roads rated “poor” for roughness.

As for places with the best quality roads, Nevada takes the top spot on the 1-800-Injured list with an overall Road Quality score of 8.98. With the second-lowest percentage of roads rated “poor” for roughness, Nevada also had very low levels of heavy cracking and rutting on the state’s road system.

South Dakota and North Dakota take second and third place, respectively, for best quality roads. South Dakota earned a road quality score of 8.78. The state did very well for having hardly any road surfaces with high levels of cracking or rutting. North Dakota’s road quality score is 8.44. This is due in part to the state having the lowest levels of heavy road cracking in the entire country. 

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