Driving Deaths Drop to 37,133 in 2017: A Look At All 50 States

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The number of car deaths fell 1.8% in 2017 compared to 2016. The total last year was 37,133. According to data released by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the change in traffic fatalities varied considerably between states.

The national drop can be attributed to several factors, including greater seat belt use, less driving by people impaired by alcohol, and a rise in quality and adoption of airbags and other vehicle safety features.

Alcohol continued to be a factor in a huge number of deaths. “Alcohol-related-driving fatalities,” the government office’s term, comprised 29% of the national total. On a slightly positive note, these fell by 1.1% last year to the lowest level since 1982, when the government started tracking these data.

Fatalities in the major categories used by the NHTSA changed very little from 2008: 36% were in passenger cars, 27% were in light trucks and 4% were in heavy trucks and buses. Also, 14% were motorcyclists and 19% were pedestrians or bicycles.

The analysis also shows swings in deaths by state. The total number of traffic fatalities fell last year in 27 states. The largest drop occurred in New Hampshire, where the number of traffic deaths fell 25% from 136 to 102. The largest reduction in total traffic deaths was in California, with 235 fewer fatalities.

Traffic went deaths rose in 22 states. The largest rise occurred in Rhode Island, where the number of traffic deaths rose 63% from 51 to 83. The largest rise in total traffic deaths was in Indiana, with 85 additional fatalities.

Driving Fatalities in All 50 States, 2016 and 2017
Total fatalities 2017 Rank Alcohol-impaired-driving fatalities — % 2017 Rank Total fatalities 2016 Rank Alcohol-impaired-driving fatalities — % 2016 Rank 2016-2017 % change 2016-2017 alcohol-impaired-driving fatalities % change
Nation 37,133 29% 37,806 29% -2% -1%
Alabama 948 14th 28% 24th 1,083 8th 28% 29th -13% -10%
Alaska 79 49th 28% 24th 84 48th 36% 10th -6% -27%
Arizona 1,000 11th 28% 24th 952 14th 25% 40th 5% 16%
Arkansas 493 27th 28% 24th 561 25th 24% 42nd -12% 6%
California 3,602 2nd 31% 13th 3,837 1st 29% 24th -6% 0%
Colorado 648 22nd 27% 31st 608 22nd 26% 36th 7% 10%
Connecticut 278 36th 43% 1st 304 35th 38% 7th -9% 3%
Delaware 119 44th 27% 31st 119 44th 31% 14th 0% -14%
Florida 3,112 3rd 27% 31st 3,176 3rd 28% 29th -2% -7%
Georgia 1,540 4th 24% 41st 1,556 4th 25% 40th -1% -5%
Hawaii 107 46th 39% 4th 120 43rd 32% 12th -11% 11%
Idaho 244 38th 25% 39th 253 38th 30% 17th -4% -21%
Illinois 1,097 8th 32% 9th 1,078 9th 31% 14th 2% 4%
Indiana 914 16th 24% 41st 829 17th 26% 36th 10% 2%
Iowa 330 33rd 27% 31st 402 31st 27% 34th -18% -19%
Kansas 461 28th 22% 47th 429 29th 23% 44th 8% 2%
Kentucky 782 18th 23% 46th 834 16th 21% 48th -6% 3%
Louisiana 760 19th 28% 24th 757 19th 30% 17th 0% -7%
Maine 172 41st 29% 19th 160 41st 39% 4th 8% -19%
Maryland 550 26th 34% 7th 522 27th 27% 34th 5% 31%
Massachusetts 350 32nd 34% 7th 387 33rd 38% 7th -10% -19%
Michigan 1,030 10th 30% 16th 1,065 10th 23% 44th -3% 28%
Minnesota 357 31st 24% 41st 392 32nd 24% 42nd -9% -11%
Mississippi 690 20th 21% 48th 687 20th 19% 49th 0% 12%
Missouri 930 15th 27% 31st 947 15th 26% 36th -2% 3%
Montana 186 40th 30% 16th 190 40th 44% 3rd -2% -33%
Nebraska 228 39th 29% 19th 218 39th 28% 29th 5% 8%
Nevada 309 34th 29% 19th 329 34th 31% 14th -6% -13%
New Hampshire 102 47th 26% 37th 136 42nd 29% 24th -25% -33%
New Jersey 624 23rd 20% 49th 602 24th 23% 44th 4% -9%
New Mexico 379 30th 32% 9th 405 30th 30% 17th -6% 0%
New York 999 12th 30% 16th 1,041 11th 28% 29th -4% 0%
North Carolina 1,412 5th 29% 19th 1,450 5th 30% 17th -3% -6%
North Dakota 115 45th 40% 3rd 113 46th 46% 1st 2% -12%
Ohio 1,179 6th 28% 24th 1,132 7th 29% 24th 4% 1%
Oklahoma 655 21st 25% 39th 687 20th 28% 29th -5% -13%
Oregon 437 29th 31% 13th 498 28th 30% 17th -12% -9%
Pennsylvania 1,137 7th 28% 24th 1,188 6th 29% 24th -4% -8%
Rhode Island 83 48th 41% 2nd 51 50th 37% 9th 63% 79%
South Carolina 988 13th 32% 9th 1,020 13th 33% 11th -3% -8%
South Dakota 129 42nd 27% 31st 116 45th 39% 4th 11% -22%
Tennessee 1,040 9th 24% 41st 1,037 12th 22% 47th 0% 11%
Texas 3,722 1st 39% 4th 3,797 2nd 39% 4th -2% -1%
Utah 273 37th 19% 50th 281 36th 19% 49th -3% 0%
Vermont 69 50th 26% 37th 62 49th 45% 2nd 11% -36%
Virginia 839 17th 29% 19th 760 18th 29% 24th 10% 10%
Washington 565 25th 32% 9th 536 26th 30% 17th 5% 11%
West Virginia 303 35th 24% 41st 269 37th 26% 36th 13% 4%
Wisconsin 613 24th 31% 13th 607 23rd 32% 12th 1% -4%
Wyoming 123 43rd 36% 6th 112 47th 30% 17th 10% 29%