Driving in busy cities, especially during rush hour, can come with an increased risk of collisions. In terms of deadly crashes, however, a recent study has found that states with more rural roads – rather than cities roads – tend to have greater rates of fatal wrecks.

This study, which was headed up by Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle at the University of Michigan, focused on analyzing the incidence of traffic deaths per capita per state, based on various federal crash data.

And what they found was that states with higher concentrations of rural roads tended to have higher speed limits and tended to see higher rates of deadly crashes on these roads.

Top 15 Deadliest States for Drivers, According to this Study

In analyzing fatality rates across the states, researchers also ranked every state in the U.S. to provide a snapshot of which states tend to have deadlier versus safer roads for drivers. According to this ranking, the top 15 states that are the deadliest for motorists include:

  1. States with More Rural Roads Tend to Have Higher Traffic Fatality Rates, Study Finds

    States with More Rural Roads Tend to Have Higher Traffic Fatality Rates, Study Finds


  2. North Dakota
  3. Mississippi
  4. West Virginia
  5. Oklahoma
  6. Alabama
  7. Arkansas
  8. South Carolina
  9. South Dakota
  10. Tennessee
  11. Louisiana
  12. Wyoming
  13. New Mexico
  14. Kentucky
  15. Idaho

At the other end of the spectrum, the top 5 states that were the safest for motorists (based on the per capita traffic-related fatality rates) included:

  1. Washington, D.C.
  2. Massachusetts
  3. New Jersey
  4. New York
  5. Rhode Island.

Colorado was ranked 18th in terms of safest roads for motorists.

Commenting on these findings, Researcher Sivak has stated that, “speed is likely to be among the most important causative factors