Most Dangerous States to Drive

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5. Oklahoma
> Road deaths per 100,000:
17.6
> Total roadway fatalities in 2013: 678
> Pct. of residents using seatbelt: 84%

Bad habits in Oklahoma contribute to bad outcomes. Vehicle occupants in the Sooner State are less likely to use a seatbelt. While 87% of Americans buckle up, only 84% of Oklahoma passengers and drivers use a seatbelt. There were 17.6 deaths on the road for every 100,000 state residents in 2013, making Oklahoma one of the most dangerous states to drive in the country.

4. West Virginia
> Road deaths per 100,000:
17.9
> Total roadway fatalities in 2013: 332
> Pct. of residents using seatbelt: 82%

With 17.9 deaths for every 100,000 residents, fatal accidents on the road are much more common in West Virginia than they are across the country, where the corresponding rate is 10.3 deaths per 100,000 residents. Rural roads are more dangerous than urban ones, and the majority of deadly accidents in West Virginia occur in rural areas. As many as 58% of all vehicle miles traveled in West Virginia in 2013 were in rural areas, and 73% of all roadway fatalities in the state happened in a rural area.

3. Mississippi
> Road deaths per 100,000:
20.5
> Total roadway fatalities in 2013: 613
> Pct. of residents using seatbelt: 74%

With 20.5 deaths on the road for every 100,000 state residents in 2013, Mississippi is the third most dangerous state to drive in the country. As in many of the states with the highest rate of roadway fatalities, drivers and passengers in Mississippi are less likely to use a seatbelt. While about 87% of Americans use a seatbelt, only 74% of vehicle occupants buckle up in Mississippi.

A larger than average share of those killed on Mississippi roadways are occupants of pickup trucks or SUVs. While about a quarter of roadway fatalities are occupants of pickups or SUVs nationally, roughly 40% of those killed on Mississippi roads are in pickups or SUVs. Like many of the states with the highest rates of roadway fatalities, a much larger share of deadly accidents in Mississippi occur in rural areas. Roughly 57% of all vehicle miles traveled in the state are in rural areas, and 85% of all fatal accidents in Mississippi are on rural roads.

2. North Dakota
> Road deaths per 100,000:
20.5
> Total roadway fatalities in 2013: 148
> Pct. of residents using seatbelt: 78%

With 20.5 deaths for every 100,000 residents, fatal accidents on the road are nearly twice as common in North Dakota than they are across the country, where the corresponding rate is 10.3 deaths per 100,000 residents. As in many of the states with the most dangerous roads, drivers and passengers in North Dakota are less likely to use a seatbelt. While about 87% of Americans use a seatbelt, only 78% buckle up in North Dakota.

A larger than average share of those killed on North Dakota roadways are in pickup trucks or SUVs. Nationally, SUVs and pickup trucks are involved in about a quarter of all roadway fatalities. In North Dakota, roughly 52% of those killed on the road are in pickups or SUVs.

1. Montana
> Road deaths per 100,000:
22.6
> Total roadway fatalities in 2013: 229
> Pct. of residents using seatbelt: 74%

States with more rural roadways are typically more dangerous than more urban states. In Montana, more than 69% of all vehicle miles driven in 2013 were in rural areas. Correspondingly, 98% of all deadly accidents in the state happened in rural areas. As in many of the states with the highest rate of roadway fatalities, drivers and passengers in Montana are less likely to use a seatbelt. While about 87% of Americans use a seatbelt, only 74% buckle up in Montana. With 22.6 deaths on the road for every 100,000 state residents in 2013, Montana is the most dangerous state to drive in the country.