Latino Traffic Report has learned that there were 33,654 fatal motor vehicle crashes in the United States in 2018 in which 36,560 deaths occurred, according to the latest report by the U.S. Department of Transportation. The number and types of motor vehicle crash deaths differ widely among the 50 states and the District of Columbia. A state’s population has an obvious effect on the number of motor vehicle deaths, as well as types of vehicles driven, travel speeds, state traffic laws, emergency care capabilities, weather, and topography.
There were 11.2 deaths per 100,000 people and 1.13 deaths per 100 million miles traveled. The fatality rate per 100,000 people ranged from 4.4 in the District of Columbia to 22.2 in Mississippi. The death rate per 100 million miles traveled ranged from 0.54 in Massachusetts to 1.83 in South Carolina.
In 2018, Wyoming had the highest percentage of deaths involving SUV and pickup occupants (49 percent) and a relatively low percentage of deaths involving car occupants (23 percent). In contrast, Vermont had the highest percentage of deaths involving car occupants (49 percent) and a relatively low percentage of deaths involving SUV and pickup occupants (26 percent).
Other factors contributing to crashes include blood alcohol levels (BAC) and the use of seatbelts. While not all states report BAC for all passenger vehicle drivers, 31 states and the District of Columbia had BAC reporting rates of at least 70 percent. Among these states, Montana had the highest estimated percentage of fatally injured drivers with BACs of 0.08 percent or higher (45 percent) and West Virginia had the lowest (12 percent).
In 2018, fatally injured occupants were approximately half as likely to use restraints compared with the nationwide average. The state with the highest observed seat belt use for front seat occupants was Hawaii, at 98 percent, while the lowest was New Hampshire at 76 percent. California had the highest restraint use percentage among fatally injured occupants at 61 percent while New Hampshire had the lowest at just 28 percent.
Finally, Texas ranked the highest among states with the most fatal traffic accidents (3,305) in 2018 while Mississippi had the highest death rate per 100,000 population. For a listing of rates for every state go to www.iihs.org.