The Safest States For Driving

The safest places to dri­ve in the nation are the Dis­trict of Colum­bia and Mass­a­chu­setts, but West Vir­ginia, South Car­oli­na, North Dako­ta and Wyoming are among the worst states.

Those are the results of a new report that found that while road safe­ty in the Unit­ed States has improved sub­stan­tial­ly in the last decade — road fatal­i­ties across the nation are down about 23 per­cent since 2005 – fatal­i­ty rates vary great­ly by region.

Traf­fic death rates are gen­er­al­ly high­er in the North­ern Plains and south­ern states than in the North­east, Mid­west and West, accord­ing to “Road Safe­ty in the Indi­vid­ual U.S. States: Cur­rent Sta­tus and Recent Changes,” released last month by the Uni­ver­si­ty of Michi­gan Trans­porta­tion Research Insti­tute (UMTRI) in Ann Arbor.

The report exam­ined indi­vid­ual fatal­i­ty rates based on dis­tance dri­ven and pop­u­la­tion, and graph­i­cal­ly shows the recent sta­tus and changes in all 50 states and the Dis­trict of Colum­bia in 2012 (the lat­est year for which fed­er­al data is avail­able) and 2005 (a recent peak).

“This is a nov­el study,” said Michael Sivak, a research pro­fes­sor at UMTRI and the author of the report. “Pri­or to my study, there did not exist a com­pre­hen­sive eval­u­a­tion of the vari­abil­i­ty among the indi­vid­ual states in terms of dif­fer­ent index­es of road safe­ty.”

The analy­sis was based on data from the Fed­er­al High­way Admin­is­tra­tion (FHWA) and the Nation­al High­way Traf­fic Safe­ty Admin­is­tra­tion (NHTSA).

The Dis­trict of Colum­bia, Mass­a­chu­setts, and Min­neso­ta have the low­est fatal­i­ty rates per miles dri­ven, accord­ing to the report, while the high­est are in West Vir­ginia, South Car­oli­na and Mon­tana. The low­est fatal­i­ty rates based on pop­u­la­tion are in the Dis­trict of Colum­bia, Mass­a­chu­setts and New York. The high­est rates are in North Dako­ta, Wyoming and Mon­tana.

In addi­tion to the cur­rent sta­tus of each state and the Dis­trict of Colum­bia based on the death toll on dis­tance dri­ven and pop­u­la­tion, the report also looked at indi­vid­ual improve­ments of those mea­sures between the years 2005 and 2012.

The great­est reduc­tions dur­ing those years occurred in the Dis­trict of Colum­bia and Neva­da, accord­ing to the report. How­ev­er, road safe­ty wors­ened Ver­mont and North Dako­ta.

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