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With Ohio leading the charge, drivers in these states can expect to face many challenges while on the road.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s estimate of traffic fatalities for 2021 had some sobering news. The agency estimated that 42,915 died in motor vehicle crashes that year — a 10.5% increase from the year prior and the highest number of fatalities since 2005.

So which states pose the most risks when it comes to getting behind the wheel?

To identify the states with the most dangerous drivers in 2023, the data science team at Insurify turned to their database of more than 4.6 million car insurance applications.


  • Overall, the average Dangerous Driving Score among the states featured on this list is 84.7. Nationally, the average Dangerous Driving Score is 47.9. 

  • Nationally, 14.3% of U.S. drivers have a prior traffic citation on record, including 1.2% with a DUI. Additionally, 12.4% of Americans are currently driving uninsured.

  • Midwestern states make up half our list. Ohio, the state identified as the most dangerous to drive in, also belongs to this region. In addition to high rates of drivers with prior violations on their record and drivers driving without insurance, these states also experience inclement winter weather, which makes driving particularly treacherous. 

  • Legislators in some of the states featured, including Washington, North Dakota, and Ohio, are taking steps to improve driver safety and reduce speeding and distracted driving. 

  • States with high rates of uninsured drivers, such as Mississippi, are also featured prominently on our list. In addition to driving up insurance rates for everyone else, a high percentage of uninsured drivers makes receiving proper medical care in the aftermath of an accident more difficult. 

  • Our data identifies New Jersey as the least dangerous state to drive in. Only 3.1% of drivers in the Garden State drive without insurance, compared to 12.4% nationally. The state also has a smaller-than-average proportion of drivers with a previous DUI violation, with only 0.8% of the population having been caught driving under the influence, compared to 1.2% nationally.

10 most dangerous states to drive in

Car accidents are the leading cause of death in the United States. As such, road safety is one of the most important issues across the country. 

The following list outlines the most dangerous states in which to get behind the wheel, based on drivers with accidents or moving violations for speeding, driving without insurance, or driving under the influence (DUI).

10. Mississippi

  • Dangerous Driving Score: 72.9

  • Share of drivers with an at-fault accident on record: 5.6%

  • Share of drivers with a DUI on record: 0.7%

  • Percent of motorists driving uninsured: 29.4%

In the Southeast region of the U.S., Mississippi is famous for its southern charm and bluegrass music. But if you’re driving in the Magnolia State, one in four cars driving next to you probably doesn’t have insurance.

Mississippi is about average when it comes to accidents and speeding tickets, but the state has more uninsured drivers than any other state in the U.S.

While the state has compulsory automobile liability insurance laws like most other states in the U.S., the low compliance rate drives up rates for those who do purchase insurance. This is because a higher share of uninsured drivers increases the risk companies take on while providing insurance to other drivers, since they have to assume the cost of accidents involving uninsured drivers. 

9. Indiana

  • Dangerous Driving Score: 76.0

  • Share of drivers with an at-fault accident on record: 9.1%

  • Share of drivers with a DUI on record: 1.7%

  • Percent of motorists driving uninsured: 15.8%

Indiana is a Midwest state known for its love of Hoosier basketball and the Indy 500. Unfortunately, drivers in Indiana are also more likely to drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Roughly 1.7% of Indiana drivers have a DUI — referred to as Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) in the state — on their driving record, which is higher than the national average of 1.02%. And 13% of the state’s traffic fatalities stem from alcohol-impaired collisions, according to a report from Indiana University’s Public Policy Institute.

8. Idaho

  • Dangerous Driving Score: 78.3

  • Share of drivers with an at-fault accident on record: 8.5%

  • Share of drivers with a DUI on record: 1.7%

  • Percent of motorists driving uninsured: 13.2%

The Western state of Idaho isn’t just known for its potatoes. It also has high rates of car accidents, speeding, and reckless driving behaviors. 

Some experts attribute Idaho’s traffic situation to the state’s population boom in recent years. Idaho was the second fastest-growing state in the U.S. in 2022, just behind Florida. That population growth inevitably leads to more cars on the roads, and the state has struggled in recent years to keep up with infrastructure and public transportation to support that growth.

7. Iowa

  • Dangerous Driving Score: 79.5

  • Share of drivers with an at-fault accident on record: 8.3%

  • Share of drivers with a DUI on record: 1.9%

  • Percent of motorists driving uninsured: 11.3%

You wouldn’t think a state known for miles and miles of cornfields would be a dangerous place to drive, but the Midwest state of Iowa makes this top 10 list because of its high rate of drivers with speeding tickets and other moving violations on their records.

It’s actually Iowa’s rural nature that makes it so dangerous. Two-lane highways crisscross much of the Hawkeye State, and lane-departure crashes, in which a vehicle crosses an edge line or center line, are the single largest category of fatal and major injury crashes in Iowa. In fact, 60% of roadway-related fatal crashes in Iowa happen due to lane departures, according to the Iowa Department of Transportation.

6. North Dakota

  • Dangerous Driving Score: 80.3

  • Share of drivers with an at-fault accident on record: 6.7%

  • Share of drivers with a DUI on record: 2.3%

  • Percent of motorists driving uninsured: 13.0%

Another Midwest state that makes our list of the most dangerous states to drive in is North Dakota, where more than 10% of drivers report having a speeding ticket on their record, and 2.3% of drivers have had at least one DUI.

The North Dakota Department of Transportation Highway Safety Division hopes to change that. According to the agency, most motor vehicle fatalities in North Dakota result from bad driver behavior, including driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, speeding, distracted driving, and lack of seat belt use. In 2018, the agency implemented its Vision Zero Plan, a long-term effort to eliminate motor vehicle crash fatalities and serious injuries via various methods, including seatbelt enforcement, and targeting impaired and distracted driving.

5. Colorado

  • Dangerous Driving Score: 86.4

  • Share of drivers with an at-fault accident on record: 8.4%

  • Share of drivers with a DUI on record: 1.7%

  • Percent of motorists driving uninsured: 16.3%

While speeding drivers can be found in any state, drivers in the Western state of Colorado seem to have particularly heavy feet. According to Insurify’s data, 9.5% of drivers in the Centennial State have speeding tickets on their records.

Of course, driver behavior isn’t the only factor contributing to the state’s high accident rates. Snowy mountain roads, wind, and black ice mean Colorado drivers can quickly lose control of their vehicles.

4. Wisconsin

  • Dangerous Driving Score: 86.7

  • Share of drivers with an at-fault accident on record: 7.8%

  • Share of drivers with a DUI on record: 2.0%

  • Percent of motorists driving uninsured: 13.3%

Returning to the Midwest, Wisconsin made our list of the most dangerous states to drive in, partly because of its high OWI (or DUI) rates.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 2.4% of adults in Wisconsin admit they’ve gotten behind the wheel of a car after drinking too much within the past 30 days, compared to 1.7% nationally.

3. Tennessee

  • Dangerous Driving Score: 90.0

  • Share of drivers with an at-fault accident on record: 8.9%

  • Share of drivers with a DUI on record: 1.1%

  • Percent of motorists driving uninsured: 23.7%

In the Southeast region of the U.S., Tennessee is another state with an uninsured driver problem.

While the state’s Financial Responsibility Law requires drivers to carry automobile liability insurance with at least $25,000 for each injury or death and $50,000 per accident, nearly a quarter of drivers in the state risk fines and losing their vehicle registration by going without coverage.

Why do so many Tennessee drivers disregard that requirement? It might have something to do with the fact that the state doesn’t require proof of insurance when registering a vehicle. 

2. Washington

  • Dangerous Driving Score: 96.8

  • Share of drivers with an at-fault accident on record: 8.8%

  • Share of drivers with a DUI on record: 1.3%

  • Percent of motorists driving uninsured: 21.7%

In the Pacific Northwest, Washington is runner-up on our list of the 10 most dangerous states to drive in due to its high percentage of drivers with at-fault accidents, speeding tickets and moving violations, and a large percentage of uninsured vehicles on its roads.

Unfortunately, the Evergreen State has a perfect storm of conditions that make its roads dangerous: high maximum speed limits, dense traffic in heavily populated areas, heavy rains, and infrastructure that’s having trouble keeping up with a growing population.

The state is working to address at least one of those factors. In June 2022, state lawmakers passed SB 5687, which expands local authority to cap speed limits at 20 miles per hour on non arterial highways.

1. Ohio

  • Dangerous Driving Score: 100.0

  • Share of drivers with an at-fault accident on record: 10.2%

  • Share of drivers with a DUI on record: 1.9%

  • Percent of motorists driving uninsured: 13.0%

The Midwest state of Ohio takes the top “honor” as the most dangerous state to drive in, with 1 in 10  drivers having an at-fault accident on their record, plus a large percentage of the population with speeding tickets and other moving violations.

The Buckeye State’s climate is undoubtedly partly to blame. During the winter, the state’s icy roads and windy conditions make driving treacherous, even for cautious drivers.

But distracted driving plays a prominent role in those statistics. At least 73,945 distracted driving crashes have occurred since 2017, close to 3% of which were fatal and serious injury crashes, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

To address the problem, the state recently enacted legislation allowing police in Ohio to pull over drivers for testing or using their cell phones and other devices while driving. The new law will go into effect in early April 2023.

Least dangerous states to drive in

Unfortunately, car accidents are one of the risks of driving. However, these five states are considered some of the least dangerous places to drive in America due to their low rates of accidents, speeding tickets, DUI offenses, or lack of insurance coverage.

StateDangerous Driving Score

What makes these states so special? In New Jersey and New York, strict laws about cellphone use while driving may lower the risk of distracted driving accidents. It also takes longer to get a driver’s license in these states, meaning there may be fewer inexperienced drivers on the roads.


The researchers at Insurify, an auto insurance comparison site, referred to their database of more than 4 million car insurance applications to determine the most dangerous states for driving in 2022. When applying for car insurance, users disclose their state of residence and any prior moving violations on their driving record within the past seven years. Across all 50 states, Insurify’s research team calculated the proportion of drivers with one or more of the following violations: speeding tickets, at-fault accidents, and DUIs. We supplemented this data with statistics on the rate of uninsured drivers in each state, using data from the Insurance Information Institute. The 10 states with the greatest shares of drivers with prior violations on their record and drivers without car insurance were selected as the most dangerous states to drive in.

The findings in this article represent statistical trends found in Insurify’s database of more than 4 million car insurance applications. The findings of this study are not meant to imply the direction nor necessarily the existence of a causal relationship. Rather, this is a presentation of statistical correlations of public interest.


The states featured on this list have a few things in common. In addition to having inclement weather that can often lead to accidents on the road, these states also have a higher share of drivers with DUIs and other prior moving violations, as well as drivers without car insurance. 

While it’s obvious why driving in states with high rates of accidents and uninsured drivers is risky, you still have ways to stay safe on the road. Speeding and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol are two significant factors in accidents, so avoid those at all costs. And carrying proper insurance — including coverage for uninsured motorists — will protect you financially if you are involved in an accident. With a little caution and preparation, you can make any state a safe place to drive.

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Janet Berry-Johnson
Janet Berry-Johnson

Janet Berry-Johnson, CPA is a freelance writer with a background in accounting and income tax planning and preparation. She's passionate about making complicated financial topics accessible to readers. She lives in Omaha, Nebraska with her husband and son and their rescue dog, Dexter. Visit her website at