10 States with the Most Car Accidents in 2022

Chase Gardner
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Chase Gardner
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Written by
Chase Gardner
Data Journalist
Chase Gardner is a data journalist at Insurify. He informs readers on major developments in the auto and home industries through research into driver behavior, homeownership tendencies, cost of living trends, and more. He received a bachelor’s degree with concentrations in Environmental & Urban Studies and Statistics from the University of Chicago. Chase’s work has been cited in MSN, Yahoo News, The Street, and dozens of local news outlets across the country.
Tanveen Vohra
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Tanveen Vohra
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Tanveen Vohra
Editorial Manager
Tanveen Vohra is an editorial manager at Insurify specializing in writing about property and casualty insurance. Through her work, Tanveen helps consumers better understand the components of their insurance policies so they can make smarter purchase decisions.Tanveen's work has been cited by CNBC , Fox Business, Business Insider, Fortune, and Market Watch, among others.
Konstantin Halachev
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Konstantin Halachev
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Konstantin Halachev
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Konstantin has led data science and engineering projects across multiple domains: biology, travel and insurance. He loves finding data nuggets that help people.

Published August 22, 2022

Reading time: 8 minutes

Traffic accidents are a driving inevitability everywhere in the U.S., but drivers in these 10 states are more likely to cause a crash than those in the rest of the country.

Orange hazard triangle in front of a single-car accident.

Most Americans need to drive on a regular basis, whether it’s to work, to the grocery store, to see family and friends, or all of the above. Since driving is so necessary and so common, not everyone thinks about the risks of getting behind the wheel every day, but traveling on the open road always brings the possibility of an accident.

Fortunately, driving in America has become much safer over the years. In 2019, 1.2 Americans died in motor vehicle accidents for every 100 million miles driven, down nearly 77% from 5.21 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles in 1969.[1] The National Safety Council (NSC) attributes this trend to better vehicle safety technology and drivers acting less recklessly behind the wheel.

Yet despite this long-term positive trend, fatal traffic accidents in America have spiked dramatically since 2020. Over 42,000 Americans died in motor vehicle crashes in 2021, the highest number in over 15 years, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s latest estimates.[2] The 10.5% increase in traffic deaths from 2020 is also the largest year-over-year jump on record. Elevated rates of dangerous driving behavior, such as speeding and not wearing a seat belt, are leading causes of this sharp rise in motor vehicle fatalities.

Of course, while serious accidents are up across the U.S., some areas of the country are more hazardous than others. Looking to inform drivers on where all traffic crashes — both life-threatening and not — are occurring this year, the data science team at Insurify, a platform for comparing auto insurance, turned to their database of over 4.6 million car insurance applications to identify the 10 states with the most car accidents in 2022.

Heat map of the U.S. showing the accident rate in every state in 2022.

Insights

  • National averages. Across the U.S., 8.8% of drivers report a prior at-fault accident on record in 2022, and these crashes cause 1.34 fatalities for every 100 million miles Americans drive. To put this another way, 1 in every 8,547 Americans die each year in motor vehicle accidents.

  • The South has the most life-threatening accidents. Drivers in the South should take extra precautions on the roads; the region has many states with elevated motor vehicle crash and fatality rates. In fact, six Southern states — Alabama, Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia, and South Carolina — have above-average at-fault accident rates, and five of them (all of the above except Virginia) have above-average traffic fatality rates, too. South Carolina has both the highest at-fault accident rate and the highest crash fatality rate in the entire country.

  • More accidents do not necessarily cause more fatalities. Surprisingly, Insurify researchers found no significant correlation (p > 0.05) between a given state’s at-fault accident rate and its traffic fatality rate (either per capita or per mile driven). This means that a state with more motor vehicle crashes per capita is not any more likely than an average state to have a higher rate of vehicle crash deaths per capita. A whopping 7 of the 10 states with the highest accident rates in 2022 also have below-average traffic fatality rates per mile driven. Highlighting this discrepancy is Massachusetts, which has the second most car accidents in the country yet also the fewest traffic fatalities per capita (and per mile driven). While auto accidents are quite common in the Bay State, the large majority are closer to fender benders than to life-threatening crashes.

Bar chart showing the 10 states with the highest accident rates in 2022, plus the national average.

Methodology

Data scientists at Insurify, a car insurance comparison website, referred to their database of over 4.6 million car insurance applications to identify the states with the most at-fault accidents. When applying for car insurance, applicants disclose their state of residence and any past accidents or violations on their driving record, including at-fault accidents. Analysts compared the number of drivers in each state with an at-fault accident on record to the total driving population to determine which states had the highest proportion of at-fault accidents in 2022.

Traffic fatality rates by population and miles driven come from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s (IIHS) latest State-by-State Fatality Facts report.

The findings in this article represent statistical trends found in Insurify’s database of over 4.6 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.

List of car accidents by state

  1. South Carolina - 12.0% of drivers have an at-fault accident on record

  2. Massachusetts - 11.9% of drivers have an at-fault accident on record

  3. Ohio - 11.4% of drivers have an at-fault accident on record

  4. Nebraska - 10.6% of drivers have an at-fault accident on record

  5. Georgia - 10.6% of drivers have an at-fault accident on record

  6. Maryland - 10.5% of drivers have an at-fault accident on record

  7. Maine - 10.5% of drivers have an at-fault accident on record

  8. North Carolina - 10.0% of drivers have an at-fault accident on record

  9. Iowa - 9.7% of drivers have an at-fault accident on record

  10. Indiana - 9.6% of drivers have an at-fault accident on record

The 10 Most Accident-Prone States in 2022

10. Indiana

  • Share of drivers with an at-fault accident on record: 9.6% (9% higher than national average)

  • Number of traffic fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled: 1.17

  • Number of people killed in traffic accidents every year: 1 in 7,576

Indiana has a history of success when it comes to college basketball but also a history of inattentiveness when it comes to driving. 9.6% of Hoosier State drivers have a prior accident on record, a share that’s 9% higher than the national average. Overall, the state ranks 10th on the list of states with the most accidents in 2022.

9. Iowa

  • Share of drivers with an at-fault accident on record: 9.7% (10% higher than national average)

  • Number of traffic fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled: 1.13

  • Number of people killed in traffic accidents every year: 1 in 9,434

Iowa drivers do not exhibit total control behind the wheel in 2022, as the state’s at-fault accident rate of 9.7% is the ninth-highest in the nation. However, those crashes have not led to increased traffic fatalities. The Hawkeye State’s 1.13 motor vehicle crash deaths per 100 million miles driven are actually 16% lower than the U.S. average.

8. North Carolina

  • Share of drivers with an at-fault accident on record: 10.0% (13% higher than national average)

  • Number of traffic fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled: 1.45

  • Number of people killed in traffic accidents every year: 1 in 6,803

The Tar Heel State is known more for its beaches than for its drivers — and for good reason. 10% of motorists in North Carolina report an at-fault accident on record, which is the eighth-highest share in the nation. The state’s traffic crash fatality rate is also 6% higher than the national average.

7. Maine

  • Share of drivers with an at-fault accident on record: 10.5% (19% higher than national average)

  • Number of traffic fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled: 1.25

  • Number of people killed in traffic accidents every year: 1 in 8,333

Taking a stroll along Maine’s breathtaking coastline may be a relaxing experience, but taking a drive along one of the state’s freeways can be anything but. That’s because 10.5% of Maine drivers have an at-fault accident on their driving record, which places the Pine State seventh on the list of states with the most accident-prone drivers in 2022. However, Maine’s traffic fatality rate is below the U.S. average.

6. Maryland

  • Share of drivers with an at-fault accident on record: 10.5% (19% higher than national average)

  • Number of traffic fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled: 1.11

  • Number of people killed in traffic accidents every year: 1 in 10,870

Given that 10.5% of Maryland drivers have a prior at-fault accident on record — the sixth-highest share in the nation — it’s possible that motorists in the state are occasionally distracted behind the wheel. Perhaps they’re daydreaming about the state’s delicious Old Bay seasoning? Whatever the reason, Maryland drivers really are causing a high rate of accidents, though not necessarily fatal ones: the state’s traffic fatalities per capita are 17% lower than the national average.

5. Georgia

  • Share of drivers with an at-fault accident on record: 10.6% (20% higher than national average)

  • Number of traffic fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled: 1.43

  • Number of people killed in traffic accidents every year: 1 in 6,452

The Peach State’s at-fault accident rate of 10.6% isn’t so peachy, as it’s 20% higher than the national average. By raw numbers, Georgia also has the fourth most yearly fatalities due to motor vehicle crashes but only the eighth-largest population in the country. This discrepancy means Georgia has some of the most dangerous roads in the country, especially among populous states: 1 in 6,452 residents are killed in motor vehicle accidents every year.

4. Nebraska

  • Share of drivers with an at-fault accident on record: 10.6% (20% higher than national average)

  • Number of traffic fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled: 1.20

  • Number of people killed in traffic accidents every year: 1 in 8,403

Nestled in the heart of the Great Plains, Nebraska has plenty of straight, flat roads, but some Cornhusker drivers still struggle to keep their vehicles between the lines. 10.6% of Nebraska drivers report an at-fault accident on record, which is the fourth-highest share in the nation. The state also has a traffic fatality rate that is 10% lower than the national average.

3. Ohio

  • Share of drivers with an at-fault accident on record: 11.4% (29% higher than national average)

  • Number of traffic fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled: 1.19

  • Number of people killed in traffic accidents every year: 1 in 9,615

People may joke that there’s nothing notable about Ohio, but the state’s at-fault accident rate says differently. 11.4% of Buckeye drivers report having caused an accident within the past seven years, which is the third-highest among all states in the country. However, the number of Ohio traffic fatalities per mile driven is 11% below average, so accidents in the state are less likely to be deadly than those across the U.S. as a whole.

2. Massachusetts

  • Share of drivers with an at-fault accident on record: 11.9% (35% higher than national average)

  • Number of traffic fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled: 0.63

  • Number of people killed in traffic accidents every year: 1 in 20,408

Massachusetts is one of the most perplexing states in the country when it comes to traffic accidents. 11.9% of Bay State drivers — 35% more than the U.S. average — report an at-fault accident on record, but the state’s number of traffic fatalities per mile driven is 53% lower than the national average. Its number of yearly motor vehicle fatalities per capita is 58% lower than the U.S. average, too. Drivers in the state do cause plenty of accidents, but the vast majority are not life-threatening.

1. South Carolina

  • Share of drivers with an at-fault accident on record: 12.0% (37% higher than national average)

  • Number of traffic fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled: 1.97

  • Number of people killed in traffic accidents every year: 1 in 4,831

With a 12% at-fault accident rate, South Carolina drivers cause the most accidents in the country in 2022. Unlike Massachusetts, however, the Palmetto State also has the highest traffic fatality rate in the nation. Overall, South Carolina residents are more than four times as likely to be involved in a fatal motor vehicle accident than their Massachusetts counterparts, pointing to how dangerous the state’s roads are.

Data Attribution

The information, statistics, and data visualizations on this page are free to use, we just ask that you attribute any full or partial use to Insurify with a link to this page. Thank you!

If you have any questions or comments about this article or would like to request the data, please contact insights@insurify.com.

Sources

  1. National Safety Council. "Car Crash Deaths and Rates." Accessed August 22, 2022
  2. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. "Newly Released Estimates Show Traffic Fatalities Reached a 16-Year High in 2021." Accessed August 22, 2022
Chase Gardner
Written by
Chase Gardner
Linkedin

Data Journalist

Chase Gardner is a data journalist at Insurify. He informs readers on major developments in the auto and home industries through research into driver behavior, homeownership tendencies, cost of living trends, and more. He received a bachelor’s degree with concentrations in Environmental & Urban Studies and Statistics from the University of Chicago. Chase’s work has been cited in MSN, Yahoo News, The Street, and dozens of local news outlets across the country.

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Tanveen Vohra
Edited by
Tanveen Vohra
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Editorial Manager

Photo of an Insurify author
Edited by
Tanveen Vohra
Editorial Manager
Tanveen Vohra is an editorial manager at Insurify specializing in writing about property and casualty insurance. Through her work, Tanveen helps consumers better understand the components of their insurance policies so they can make smarter purchase decisions.Tanveen's work has been cited by CNBC , Fox Business, Business Insider, Fortune, and Market Watch, among others.
Konstantin Halachev
Reviewed by
Konstantin Halachev
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VP of Engineering

Headshot of Konstantin Halachev, VP of Engineering at Insurify
Reviewed by
Konstantin Halachev
VP of Engineering
Konstantin has led data science and engineering projects across multiple domains: biology, travel and insurance. He loves finding data nuggets that help people.