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Which 10 states have the least traffic deaths?

Click here for rankings table and here for our interactive maps.

Here's what you need to know...

We often shout “Drive Safely!” as people head out the door. This isn’t just a common farewell. We say it because we want our loved ones to make it home in one piece, and sadly, deadly collisions on U.S. public roadways are far too likely these days.

In just the U.S. in 2015, 32,166 fatal car accidents caused 35,092 unplanned, preventable deaths. This works out to be 10.9 traffic deaths for every 100,000 Americans in just one year.

With distracted driving and fatal crashes on the rise, Americans need to take this public safety matter seriously. Fortunately, parts of the U.S. seem to be doing just that.

Methodology

  • Total Fatalities by Miles Driven
  • Total Driver Fatalities
  • Total Motorcyclist Fatalities
  • Total Passenger Fatalities
  • Total Pedestrian Fatalities
  • Total Pedalcyclist Fatalities

For each category, all 51 areas were ranked against each other — first having the most deaths. Those six rankings were added up to give a telling final score.

The areas with the best drivers (lowest death rates) got the highest scores, and the areas with the worst drivers got the lowest scores (higher death rates).

Click here to view the detailed analysis and to see how your state stacked up in each category.

10 States with the Least Traffic-Related Deaths

Best States for Traffic-Related Fatalities - 2017

Click here to view our interactive graphics!

Read on to discover which states have the lowest crash-related fatalities, and how you can start making small changes to improve your driving. No one should have to lose their life on the road.

#10 – Virginia

Best Ranking: Motorcyclist Fatalities – 47th
Worst Ranking: Pedalcyclist Fatalities – 23rd

Virginia may be a state for lovers who earned a spot in our top 10, but with 15 pedalcyclists killed by motorists in one year, they still have some work to do.

Even though Virginia ranked better than the 46 other areas of the U.S. for this category, they still had 79 motorcyclists killed in traffic accidents, which is scary high.

Virginia drivers need to share the road better and pay attention to those around them if they want to avoid landing on our WORST list.

#9 – Washington

space-needle-720742_1280Best Ranking: Motorcyclist Fatalities – 45th
Worst Ranking: Pedalcyclist Fatalities – 18th

With the same best and worst rankings, Washington and Virginia seem to be good at looking twice to save a life for motorcyclists, now they need to apply this to those pedaling as well.

The Evergreen State might have made it on our Best Drivers list this year, but with a 23 percent increase in fatal crashes since 2014, it’s actually headed in the wrong direction.

Hopefully the 568 unnecessary traffic deaths that occurred in 2015 were enough of a wake up call for Washington residents to drive safer. We would like to see them on this least traffic fatalities countdown again next year.

#7 – Illinois (Tied)chicago-2756595_1920

Best Ranking: Passenger Fatalities – 43rd
Worst Ranking: Pedalcyclist Fatalities – 18th

159 Illinois residents were passengers along for a ride when they died in fatal car crashes in 2015. These lost passengers made up 16 percent of the traffic fatalities that year, which is a lower rate than 42 other states in our country.

Like the states in 9th and 10th, Illinois’ worst ranking was in the pedalcyclist category with 26 people killed while burning calories and saving gas.

We are proud of The Prairie State for having some of the best drivers in our nation. We hope they can decrease their number of bicyclist deaths and get in our top five next year.

#7 – New Jersey (Tied)

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Best Ranking: Motorcyclist Fatalities – 50th
Worst Ranking: Pedestrian Fatalities – 10th

Even though it tied with Illinois, New Jersey earned a higher spot on this year’s Least Traffic Deaths Countdown because its best ranking was higher than Illinois’ best. Jersey’s winning ranking is impressive with a lower rate of motorcyclist deaths than every other state in America. It was only beat by D.C.

Unfortunately, New Jersey, ranks in the top 10 for the WORST in the U.S. for its Pedestrian Death Ranking. In 2015 alone, 170 pedestrians were killed by motorists. Over 30 percent of all those who died in fatal crashes were on foot!

On a more positive note, The Garden State had to beat the odds to earn a spot on this list with the highest population density and most dense highway system in all of America.

#6 – New York

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Best Ranking: Passenger Fatalities – 48th
Worst Ranking: Pedestrian Fatalities – 21st

In 2015 The Empire State had a total population exceeding 19.7 million with over 8.5 million of those residents all living in our nation’s most populous city, NYC.

This jam-packed city with crowded streets and 55 percent of the households not even owning a car really help to explain the high ranking of pedestrian deaths.

New York ranks in the worst half of the U.S. for its rate of pedestrian and pedalcyclist fatalities. There were a total of 343 pedestrians and bicyclists killed in New York in 2015, which is a major safety issue. However, New York deserves a spot on this list thanks to its top five lowest traffic fatality ranking in all three categories: passenger, driver, and motorcyclist deaths.

#5 – Connecticut

east-haddam-1601626_1920-1600x1600Best Ranking: Passenger Fatalities – 47th
Worst Ranking: Pedestrian Fatalities – 26th

It’s fitting that The Land of Steady Habits made it on this list thanks to steady safe driving habits by its citizens.

Ranked better than over 92 percent of the country, Connecticut’s low passenger fatality rate is impressive. This small but mighty state also ranks in the top 10 for the lowest rate of driver deaths.

Hopefully the state’s motto, “He Who Transplanted Still Sustains” will apply to Connecticut sustaining a spot on this best driver countdown for years to come!

#4 – Minnesota

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Best Ranking: Pedestrian Fatalities – 51st
Worst Ranking: Pedalcyclist Fatalities – 23rd

Surprisingly, the two categories inhabiting the sidelines of the road are on opposite ends of the spectrum in Minnesota.

The safest place for someone to take a walk in our nation is in Minnesota, the state with the lowest rate of pedestrian deaths. But, pedalcyclists in this state aren’t so lucky with a higher death rate in Minnesota than 55 percent of America.

Thanks to new laws regarding motorists and bicyclists on Minnesota roads, it’s promising that The North Star State will continue to be a star at the north end of this list for having the least traffic-related deaths next year.

#3 – District of Columbia

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Best Ranking: (Tied) Driver, Motorcyclist, and Passenger Fatalities – 51st
Worst Ranking: Pedestrian Fatalities – 23rd

It may not have the highest overall final score, but our nation’s capital is definitely winning in regards to its “Best Ranking,” with three categories ranked the best in the entire U.S.

All three best ranking factors only had three fatalities each in the District of Columbia. We would obviously prefer those numbers to be zero, but under ten total deaths for all three of those categories is extremely impressive!

We hope The American Rome continues to raise the bar on safe driving standards in our nation.

#2 – Rhode Island

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Best Ranking: Fatalities by Miles Driven – 50th
Worst Ranking: Pedestrian Fatalities – 20th

Rhode Island ranked in the worst half of the U.S. in the Pedestrian Fatality category with eight people killed by motorists while walking to their destination.

Proving it deserves its spot at the top of this, The Ocean State ranked top five in the U.S. for each of the remaining five categories:

  • Pedalcyclist Fatalities: 47th
  • Drivers Fatalities: 48th
  • Motorcyclist Fatalities: 48th
  • Passenger Fatalities: 49th
  • Fatalities by Miles Driven: 50th

Rhode Island isn’t just home to the Tennis Hall of Fame, it’s home to some of the best drivers in our country. Keep it up, Rhode Islanders!

#1 – Massachusetts

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Best Ranking: Fatalities by Miles Driven – 51st
Worst Ranking: Pedestrian Fatalities – 36th

The first flag of the American Colonies was raised in Somerville, Massachusetts in 1776, and The Pilgrim State is still paving the way with the best drivers in the entire United States.

Massachusetts ranked in the top three in the U.S. for having the lowest rates of driver, motorcyclist, and passenger fatalities. Plus with a rate of only .52 traffic deaths for every 100 million miles traveled, Massachusetts drivers clearly understand the importance of safety on the roads.

The derogatory term used for Massachusetts drivers, Massholes, is so common that it has been officially added to the Oxford English Dictionary.

Drivers in this state might have a bad reputation, but numbers don’t lie. Massachusetts overall has the lowest rate of traffic fatalities in our study, winning this competition with 11 points to spare.

Maybe we all need to learn to drive like Massholes.

What does the data tell us?

States with Least Traffic Fatalities on Map

They may not all be north of the Mason-Dixon Line, but as you can see on the above map, the places with the smallest number of those killed in traffic accidents are all located in the northern portion of our country.

Seventy percent of the states with the best drivers in our nation all live in what is defined as the North.

– Who’s in the most danger?

In the ten states with the least traffic deaths, people walking and biking on public roads are in the most danger.

Every one of the areas on this countdown had pedestrian or pedalcyclist fatalities as their worst ranking out of all six categories.

Even our nation’s safest drivers need to work on paying attention to crosswalks, checking for pedestrians before turning, and sharing the road with bicyclists.

– Who’s in the least danger?

Not only do the ten states on this list have the safest roads in the U.S., they also have the lowest rates of motorcycle and passenger deaths.

80 percent of the states on this list had motorcyclist or passenger fatalities as their best ranking.

The areas in America with the least traffic fatalities have learned to “look twice to save a life” and wear their seatbelts. Making sure everyone is buckled up is vital to keeping the passengers in your vehicle safe.

How to Be the Best

We all have a lot to lose when we don’t drive safely. If where you live didn’t make this list, do your part to turn things around in your area.

Using NHTSA resources, we compiled 20 Driver Safety Tips:

  • Try to avoid driving in heavy traffic and bad weather
  • Wear your seatbelt (correctly)
  • Don’t speed or drive too slow
  • Always stay alert!
  • Don’t tailgate 
  • Be aware of your surroundings
  • Use your turn signals
  • Check your blind spots when changing lanes or reversing
  • Be sure you have enough gas
  • Stop at railroad crossings
  • Never eat, drink, or use your phone while driving
  • Never drive impaired by drugs or alcohol
  • Don’t drive if you are angry or tired
  • Keep your windshields and mirrors clean
  • Have a cloth in your vehicle for dirty or foggy windows
  • Replace windshield wiper blades as needed
  • Invest in windshield wiper fluid
  • Talk to your doctor about driving on any new medication
  • Make sure your vision is clear especially for night time driving
  • Regularly service your vehicle

To step up your game, even more, take a Driver Safety CourseCall or visit the below websites to find classes near you:

Most of these driving courses are very cheap, some are even free! Plus, most insurance companies will discount your rates as a “thank you” and added trust in your safer driving.

Complete Rankings: States with Least Traffic Fatalities

– To sort the table by category, click on header columns.

– Click here for the full stats and sources for each category. For all media inquiries, please email: Josh Barnes

StateTotal Fatalities by 100 Million Miles Driven RankTotal Driver Fatalties by Licensed Drivers RankTotal Motorcyclist Fatalities by Licensed Drivers RankTotal Passenger Fatalities by Population RankTotal Pedestrians Fatalities by Population RankTotal Pedalcyclist Fatalities by Population RankTotal ScoreFinal Rank
Massachusetts514949503638.002731
Rhode Island504848492047.002622
District of Columbia495151512333.002583
Minnesota483238455123.002374
Connecticut454229472645.002345
New York434746482123.002286
Illinois353842433918.002157
New Jersey474650441018.002157
Washington354345343418.002099
Virginia392547383523.0020710
New Hampshire444122424013.0020211
Vermont46453132453.0020211
Iowa342437244931.0019913
Wisconsin393034374711.0019814
Maryland424041351623.0019715
Utah383335312929.0019516
Pennsylvania263132402540.0019417
Hawaii39501146937.0019218
Maine30277284847.0018719
Alaska163929391147.0018120
Ohio322628354416.0018120
California35443941127.0017822
Kansas271926184642.0017822
Nebraska231740135017.0016024
Michigan32373332187.0015925
Colorado293518303112.0015526
Indiana312122222823.0014727
Missouri241224143333.0014028
Idaho15161454247.0013929
Oregon212326291918.0013630
North Dakota1444443038.0013431
West Virginia12513203846.0013431
Tennessee191119212233.0012533
Delaware17362126310.0011334
South Dakota818383640.0011334
Alabama1810439822.0011036
Georgia241425161713.0010937
North Carolina222017181513.0010538
Nevada1934102745.009939
Wyoming62114247.009939
Montana23834042.009841
Arkansas57563142.009642
Oklahoma1296102433.009443
New Mexico2822201216.008944
Texas111512151323.008944
Mississippi313621429.008546
Kentucky46972631.008347
Arizona1029141764.008048
Florida92842521.006949
Louisiana613162352.006550
South Carolina1821177.003651


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