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Most dangerous states to drive in

  • Most dangerous states to drive in

    With the hundreds of millions of privately and commercially owned vehicles registered in the United States, it is easy to see why so many Americans have become complacent when it comes to driving. In fact, most people in the U.S. don't go longer than a day without sitting inside a motor vehicle either as a driver or a passenger. Whether it's taking summer road trips, commuting to work, or simply driving to the grocery store, cars have become an indispensable part of everyday life.

    While many 16 year olds are itching to get behind the wheel of a car for their driver's test, the sobering reality is that operating a vehicle is a huge responsibility and not to be taken lightly. Nearly 40,000 people died in car accidents in the U.S. in 2017, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration—that's an average of just over 100 people per day. The usual suspects of speeding, distracted driving, and driving under the influence are continuing to put Americans at risk on highways and roads.

    The good news? Fatal motor vehicle accidents are down almost 2% from 2016 and 2015—both of which previously saw dramatic increases (a 6.5% increase from 2015 to 2016 and an 8.4% increase from 2014 and 2015). Even better news, preliminary data, and estimates from the first half of 2018 showed a continuation of the downward trend. Every year roads are improving, and vehicle manufacturers are adding more advanced safety features to their cars. The approaching reality of self-driving automatic cars might soon cause yet another evolution on U.S. roads.

    Stacker took recently released statistics from the Federal Highway Administration's 2017 Highway Statistics Report (the most recent data available) ranked by fatalities per billion miles traveled to find the most dangerous state in the U.S. to drive in. The data was then organized by urban and rural roads and compared to the national average. The list used the Department of Transportation websites for each state to find relevant regulations, driving conditions, and major events within the state's current transportation situations.

    Read on to discover the most dangerous states to drive in.

    You may also like: Cities with the worst commutes in America

  • #51. Massachusetts

    - Total fatalities: 5.59 per billion miles travelled (51.7% below the national average)
    - Urban road fatalities: 5.51 per billion miles travelled (34.9% below the national average)
    - Rural road fatalities: 7.1 per billion miles travelled (60.2% below the national average

    Last on the list, the state of Massachusetts had the lowest number of driving fatalities in 2017. Massachusetts takes its toll roads seriously, and the state is in talks of making it even more expensive to cross its highways in the future and using the money to upgrade transportation infrastructure.

  • #50. Minnesota

    - Total fatalities: 5.95 per billion miles travelled (48.5% below the national average)
    - Urban road fatalities: 4.13 per billion miles travelled (51.2% below the national average)
    - Rural road fatalities: 8.57 per billion miles travelled (52% below the national average

    In addition to being nearly 50% below the national average for vehicle fatalities in 2017, Minnesota has a whole program dedicated to the prevention of further incidents after an accident occurs on its highways. The Freeway Incident Response Safety Team is dispatched after traffic accidents to help minimize secondary crashes throughout the state.

  • #49. New Hampshire

    - Total fatalities: 7.46 per billion miles travelled (35.5% below the national average)
    - Urban road fatalities: 6.18 per billion miles travelled (26.9% below the national average)
    - Rural road fatalities: 9.39 per billion miles travelled (47.4% below the national average

    There are 2,169 state and 1,684 municipal bridges in New Hampshire, with another 445 miles of rail in operation across the state. In an effort to reduce car accidents among children on their way to school, New Hampshire implemented a successful Safe Routes to School Program to enable elementary and middle school children to safely bike and walk to school.

  • #48. New Jersey

    - Total fatalities: 8.05 per billion miles travelled (30.4% below the national average)
    - Urban road fatalities: 7.28 per billion miles travelled (13.9% below the national average)
    - Rural road fatalities: 16.8 per billion miles travelled (5.9% below the national average

    New Jersey is looking toward the future when it comes to transportation. The state's Long Range Transportation Plan set forth a layout to improve its public transportation, encourage walking and biking, and shorten the length of necessary car travel by 2030.

  • #47. New York

    - Total fatalities: 8.07 per billion miles travelled (30.2% below the national average)
    - Urban road fatalities: 5.36 per billion miles travelled (36.6% below the national average)
    - Rural road fatalities: 18.6 per billion miles travelled (4.2% above the national average

    Driving in New York City can often pose a challenge even to the most experienced drivers. The state as a whole, however, was still 30% below the national average for total car fatalities in 2017. The state is currently working on a new bridge, one of the biggest single design-build contracts for a transportation project in the U.S., and an almost $4 billion project.

  • #46. Washington D.C.

    - Total fatalities: 8.34 per billion miles travelled (27.8% below the national average)
    - Urban road fatalities: 8.34 per billion miles travelled (1.3% below the national average)
    - Rural road fatalities: 0 per billion miles travelled (100% below the national average)

    Washington D.C.-based app “How's My Driving” allows residents to report things like speeding and bad parking and to look up information on license plates directly from the app. After several traffic accidents where pedestrians were killed by reckless driving, local news reported that a record number of users were logging into the app to report dangerous driving.

  • #45. Utah

    - Total fatalities: 8.67 per billion miles travelled (25% below the national average)
    - Urban road fatalities: 6.78 per billion miles travelled (19.8% below the national average)
    - Rural road fatalities: 13.25 per billion miles travelled (25.8% below the national average

    Getting a head start on the self-driving trend, Utah already has plans to launch an autonomous shuttle pilot program that will travel to different communities throughout the state. Members of the media were encouraged to take a ride in the shuttle and give the public one of its first looks into the future of self-driving vehicles at the state level.

  • #44. Connecticut

    - Total fatalities: 8.83 per billion miles travelled (23.7% below the national average)
    - Urban road fatalities: 8.18 per billion miles travelled (3.3% below the national average)
    - Rural road fatalities: 13.99 per billion miles travelled (21.6% below the national average

    Despite a lower position on the list when it comes to fatalities, a 2018 Safe Driving Report found that Connecticut had the most unsafe drivers in the entire country, due to an exorbitant number of bad habits including speeding, aggressive acceleration, and using electronic devices while driving. The study found that Connecticut drivers drove too fast on 56% percent of trips and used their phones on 34% of trips.

  • #43. Maryland

    - Total fatalities: 9.16 per billion miles travelled (20.8% below the national average)
    - Urban road fatalities: 8.44 per billion miles travelled (0.2% below the national average)
    - Rural road fatalities: 11.74 per billion miles travelled (34.3% below the national average

    The state of Maryland uses its annual Bike to Work Day in the major city of Baltimore to encourage modes of transportation other than cars. The event is in its 22nd year and brings the state together with dozens of events around the city to promote awareness of the rules of the road and benefits of biking instead of driving.

  • #42. Washington

    - Total fatalities: 9.2 per billion miles travelled (20.4% below the national average)
    - Urban road fatalities: 7.17 per billion miles travelled (15.2% below the national average)
    - Rural road fatalities: 13.69 per billion miles travelled (23.4% below the national average

    Washington state enacted a “distracted-driving law” in 2017, banning any electronic handheld device use while driving (even while stopped at a red light). Originally residents were given until 2019 to adapt to the new law, but Gov. Jay Inslee decided to move the date up by a year in an effort to reduce distraction-related accidents.

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