Special Report

The States With the Most Deadly Accidents

7. Wyoming
> Age-adjusted accidental deaths per 100,000:
54.8
> Pct. population using mind-altering drugs almost daily: 15.5 (2nd lowest)
> Premature death (years of potential life lost prior to age 75 per 100,000): 7,593 (18th highest)
> Leading cause of accidental death: Motor vehicle accidents

Motor vehicles accidents were responsible for 15.9 unintentional deaths per 100,000 Wyoming residents and were the leading cause of accidental deaths in the state. The motor vehicle accidental death rate in Wyoming was 12th highest in the country even though only Vermont had fewer motor vehicle registrations. Wyoming also had the second lowest share of residents acknowledging almost daily use of mood-altering drugs, yet its accidental death rate from drug-related poisoning was 16th highest in the country at 13.7 per 100,000 people. Poisoning was the second leading cause of accidental deaths in Wyoming. More than 10 deaths occurred per 100,000 residents from falls, slightly higher than the national rate of 9.56 falling deaths per 100,000 Americans. Only two states — Hawaii and Alaska — had a higher rate of accidental deaths due to drowning than Wyoming’s 2.1 drowning deaths per 100,000 residents.

6. Kentucky
> Age-adjusted accidental deaths per 100,000:
55.4
> Pct. population using mind-altering drugs almost daily: 24.5 (3rd highest)
> Premature death (years of potential life lost prior to age 75 per 100,000): 9,575 (7th highest)
> Leading cause of accidental death: Poison

Drugs were the leading cause of accidental deaths in Kentucky, a state in which 24.5% of the population acknowledged using mood-altering drugs almost daily, the third highest percentage nationwide. There were 20.4 deaths from drug poisonings per 100,000 Kentucky residents. According to the CDC, there were 20.4 deaths from drug poisonings per 100,000 Kentucky residents, the second highest rate in the nation behind only West Virginia. Drug abuse is relatively common in Kentucky, where 497 drug abuse violations per 100,000 people were reported, the 13th rate in the country. There were 15.3 motor vehicle-related deaths per 100,000 Kentucky residents, the second leading cause of accidental death in the state. As they were nationally, falls were the third leading cause of unintentional deaths in Kentucky, with 6.2 falling deaths per 100,000 residents.

ALSO READ: States Using the Most Mind-Altering Drugs

5. Mississippi
> Age-adjusted accidental deaths per 100,000:
55.5
> Pct. population using mind-altering drugs almost daily: 22.3 (7th highest)
> Premature death (years of potential life lost prior to age 75 per 100,000): 10,354 (the highest)
> Leading cause of accidental death: Motor vehicle accidents

Motor vehicles were the leading cause of accidental deaths in Mississippi at 22.5 such deaths per 100,000 residents, the second highest rate in the nation. There may be relatively more unsafe drivers in Mississippi, as the state was one of just a handful of states not to have a point system for driving violations. Depending on the state, points could result in the suspension or revocation of a driver’s license. In Mississippi, however violations are entered on a driver’s record, which is available to insurance companies and potential employers. Drug-related poisoning was the second leading cause of accidental death in Mississippi, with 9.3 drug poisoning-related deaths per 100,000 residents. The state had by far the nation’s highest rate of accidental death by suffocation at 6.1 such deaths per 100,000 residents.