With the economy recovering and gas prices low in 2015, American drivers took to their cars and covered a record number of miles. That meant a lot more traffic around the country and, along with it, a spike in traffic deaths.
We saw that trend continue in 2016, according to the most recent report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). But the statistics on hit-and-run accidents were even more frightening. In fact, NHTSA said the ’16 figures showed the most hit-and-run deaths (2,049) since this data started being recorded in 1976.
The folks at Auto Insurance Center took the numbers from each state and broke them down by population to see which presented the most danger. Here are the 10 deadliest places for hit-and-run accidents in the U.S.
- While the overall numbers were low, Alaska ranked 10th highest by percentage.
In a sparsely populated place like Alaska, a low number of traffic fatalities can produce a high overall percentage. That’s exactly what happened when looking closely at the 2016 numbers.
Altogether, the state had 1.08 hit-and-run deaths per 100,000 residents in the calendar year. Every accident took place on the national highway system.
- Though the deadliest states for hit-and-runs are in the South, Connecticut made the list.
Between 2013 and 2016, the number of hit-and-run fatalities doubled (from 12 to 24) in Connecticut. If you go back to 2009, when the total was 5, the latest statistics look even more grim.
Overall, the numbers showed 1.09 deaths per 100,000 people in the state. If you check on the most dangerous intersections in America, Connecticut also has a spot high on the list, so this state clearly needs to improve on traffic safety.
- In the latest count, Louisiana had the most hit-and-run fatalities since 2006.
Looking at fatal hit-and-run crashes in Louisiana since 2006, you’ll find the latest total (42) among the highest over the last 11 years. Those deaths resulted from crashes split even between the highway system and local roads.
According to the Auto Insurance Center analysis, Louisiana had the most deaths from hit-and-run accidents occurring from normal rush-hour congestion.
7. South Carolina
- Between 2014 and 2016, South Carolina hit-and-run deaths more than doubled.
While South Carolina hit-and-run fatalities fluctuate from 4-33 between 2006 and 2015, the latest statistics exceeded all those figures. A reported 44 deaths occurred in the last calendar year.
That figure represented more than twice the number from 2014 (19). A large majority (78%) of those fatal crashes took place on roads off the highway system.
- Even with the nation’s highest population, California’s statistics were incredibly grim.
California’s massive population can make many statistics seem inflated, but the hit-and-run numbers from 2016 are frightening. Overall, 337 lives were lost from accidents in which drivers fled the scene.
That was the highest number in the 11 years posted by the NHTSA in the latest analysis, with only 2006 (325 deaths) coming close.
- This high-population state also produced scary statistics on hit-and-run fatalities.
As with California, the large number of fatalities (233) will jump out at you as you read through the study. That amounted to 1.19 deaths per 100,000 people.
More importantly, Texas hasn’t seen numbers like that in at least a decade. The previous high of 198 hit-and-run deaths came in 2008, and the numbers from the previous year (179 deaths) show a major spike in 2016.
- As in many states on this list, Tennessee fatalities are increasing too quickly.
If you look at the past 11 years of fatal hit-and-run crashes in Tennessee, you won’t find numbers (48 deaths) like you will in 2016. Once again, the closest number came before the recession (45, in 2006).
Overall, the latest number represented 1.20 deaths per 100,000 people. Some 61% of those fatal crashes took place off the highway system, with Nashville roads proving to be the most dangerous.
- Six of the worst sites for hit-and-run crashes are in Florida.
In the latest NHTSA report, you find multiple hit-and-run deaths at locations in Plantation, Tallahassee, St. Petersburg, and Jacksonville. Overall, the state’s 206 fatalities trailed only the body counts of Texas and California.
However, the rate of Florida’s fatal hit-and-run accidents (1.31 per 100,000 people) exceeded both those other high-population states.
- The latest numbers showed a 220% increase since 2011.
Overall, the 32 hit-and-run deaths in Nevada won’t seem like many compared to high-population states. However, there were several reasons for concern.
First, that number was the state’s highest since 2006, when the population was smaller. Meanwhile, it was over three times the number of deaths in 2011 (10), and the 1.60 deaths per 100,000 was very high.
1. New Mexico
- Albuquerque as a city and New Mexico as a state were the most dangerous for hit-and-runs.
No state was more dangerous than New Mexico for fatal hit-and-run crashes in 2016. Overall, the 31 deaths only tell part of the story.
A spot at SR-45 (Coors Blvd.) tied for the highest number of deaths (4) of any location in American in the latest report. Meanwhile, you could describe the figures as exploding. In 2011, only three (3) fatal hit-and-run crashes were recorded in New Mexico.
The latest number was more than 10 times that figure. Tallies from 2006 (9) and 2009 (2) also show how much the number of hit-and-run deaths has spiked here.