(800) 561-4887

No Fee If We Don't Win

The Deadliest Highways in America Causing Thousands of Deaths

America's deadliest highways

A new study analyzing government crash data has revealed shocking discrepancies in road safety from state to state, uncovering which stretches of asphalt pose the greatest risk to drivers and passengers. California and Texas ranked highest.

America’s Most Dangerous Roads: A Sobering Look at Highway Fatalities Across the US.

Leading the pack with an astounding 4,498 deaths in 2021 alone, Texas has been named the nation’s most perilous state for highway travel by ConsumerAffairs. 4,068 fatal crashes occurred on the 79,000 miles of highway in the Lone Star State in a single year.

Rounding out the top five most treacherous states are California, Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina—populous places where the high volume of vehicles and long distances traveled create a perfect storm for motor vehicle crashes.  California saw 4,285 motor vehicle fatalities in 2021, an increase of 7.6%

Rhode Island: The Safest State for Drivers

Alternatively, Rhode Island earned the distinction of “safest state for motorists.” The small New England state recorded just 63 highway fatalities in 2021, thanks in part to its more stringent road safety laws. For example, Rhode Island maintains a lower blood alcohol content (BAC) limit of 0.05% for drivers compared to the standard 0.08%.

Rhode Island car accident fatalities

While size certainly plays a role, with less ground to cover in Rhode Island, stricter policies around impaired and inexperienced drivers demonstrably make an impact. Neighboring Massachusetts has the second lowest death rate per capita, while the tighter speed limits in Vermont are credited for its comparatively low levels of high-speed collisions.

Lack of Seat Belt Usage

Another crucial factor in the severity of crashes is whether those involved were wearing proper safety restraints. Mississippi, which allows residents to acquire a driver’s license without taking a road test, has one of the lowest rates of seat belt usage in the nation.

Not unsurprisingly, Mississippians are twice as likely to die in an auto accident compared to the average American. According to a study, Mississippi has the highest number of fatal car accidents per population, with a death rate of 22.2 deaths per 100,000 people.

Avoidable Fatalities Caused by Wreckless Drivers

A fatal school bus crash in Texas this March serves as evidence that even the most cautious drivers are not immune to the serious risks on our highways. When a truck driver who had not undergone proper background checks by his employer collided with the bus on Highway 21, which caused it to roll over, it was carrying 44 elementary students and 11 adults back from a field trip. One adult and one child lost their lives in the tragic accident, a somber reminder of the preciousness and precariousness of life.

Key Policy Changes Are Necessary

In addition to common sense measures we can take as responsible drivers, experts are calling for several key policy changes at the state level. These include stricter licensing requirements for new drivers, more robust seat belt laws, and harsher penalties for repeat offenders caught driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Vetting employees who drive commercial vehicles weighing thousands of pounds needs a serious audit and strict guidelines imposed by state legislators to increase safety on our nation’s roads.

Improved infrastructure is also essential, from repairing aging roads and bridges to installing more median barriers, rumble strips, and other safety features designed to reduce the risk and severity of crashes. Widening highways, straightening hairpin turns, and separating oncoming lanes of traffic can also make a significant dent in the death toll.

Driver Education for Young Adults and Teens

According to the CDC, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens, with around 2,800 teens aged 13–19 killed and 227,000 injured in 2020 alone. This resulted in an estimated $40.7 billion in medical and work loss costs.

The risk of motor vehicle crashes is highest among teens aged 16–19, especially males, newly licensed drivers, and those driving with other teen passengers.

Key risk factors include:

  • Inexperience and poor judgment/decision-making skills
  • Nighttime and weekend driving
  • Lack of seatbelt use
  • Distracted driving, especially from cell phone use
  •  Speeding and following too closely
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs like marijuana

To reduce teen crash injuries and deaths, the CDC recommends:

  • Seatbelt laws with primary enforcement
  • Raise the minimum legal drinking age and pass zero-tolerance laws
  • Graduated driver licensing (GDL) systems to give teens more practice
  • Parental monitoring and involvement, including setting rules and using in-vehicle monitoring devices
  • Choosing vehicles with advanced safety features

A combination of strong laws and policies, parental involvement, and smart vehicle choice can make a real difference in keeping our nation’s roads safer, said Brian Chase, managing partner of Bisnar Chase. “Many of the motor vehicle cases we handle are teen-involved accidents and often include drugs or alcohol and serious issues with driver distraction. We’ve got to do better to protect the public.”

FREE Case Evalution

Our staff will evaluate your case submission and respond in a timely manner.

California Personal Injury Blog