Special Report

States Where the Most Pedestrians Are Killed by Cars

The number of motor vehicle crashes in the United States was the highest since 2005 last year. The latest official national crash data suggest this trend continued in the first months of 2022, though they might have begun to decline in the second quarter. (These are the 20 car accidents Americans get in the most.)

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 43,000 people were killed by motor vehicle collisions in 2021, a nearly 11% increase from 2020. Many of the fatal crashes involved pedestrians. But some states are safer for pedestrians than others.

To find the states with the most pedestrian deaths, 24/7 Wall St. used the U.S. NHTSA’s preliminary 2021 data from the report Pedestrian Traffic Fatalities by State. States are ranked by the number of pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 residents. All data is from the NHTSA’s report. Fatalities per 100,000 people is a common measure that allows for apples-to-apples comparisons among states with varying populations.

The mortality rate of pedestrian fatalities ranges from 0.8 people per 100,000 residents in Nebraska to nearly 4.8 pedestrian deaths per 100,000 people in New Mexico.

California ranks among the 10 states where pedestrian fatalities declined last year. The country’s most populous state saw a 6.6% year-over-year decline, from 1,026 deaths in 2020 to 958 in 2021. It ranked 15th in pedestrian fatalities per capita in 2021, with 2.4 pedestrian deaths per 100,000 people. (See also the vehicles involved in the most fatal crashes.)

Pedestrian deaths in three states – New Hampshire, Nebraska, and Rhode Island – fell by more than 20%. However, these states generally rank low in pedestrian fatalities because of their low and less dense populations. Last year, there was less than one pedestrian fatality per 100,000 people in these states.

Among the 10 largest states where more than half of the U.S. population resides, five had fewer than two pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 residents last year, while Georgia and Florida were among the top 10 most dangerous for pedestrians, with 3.2 and 4.1 deaths per 100,000 residents, respectively.  

Overall, 38 states had more pedestrian fatalities last year, led by Maine and West Virginia. Illinois, the country’s sixth most-populous state, reported a 30% increase in pedestrian deaths last year.

Here are the states with the most pedestrian deaths.

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