Skip to main content

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), an estimated 42,915 people died in motor vehicle crashes last year. That’s a 10% increase over 2020 (38,824). Statistics aside, those figures show that driving is far more dangerous in some areas than others. To break it down, new research has revealed that 10 of the U.S. states are far more dangerous to drive in than others. Is your state one of them?

The scene where CBS News correspondent Bob Simon died in car accident on Manhattan's west side.
The scene where CBS News correspondent Bob Simon died in a car accident on Manhattan’s west side. | Getty Images

Here are the 10 most dangerous states for drivers

If you live in Mississippi, then you may want to be careful when you’re behind the wheel. The Agruss Law Firm, a personal injury and consumer rights law firm, studied data compiled by NHTSA over the past 10 years. The data revealed which states have the highest driver deaths compared to the state population. The top 10 states might surprise you.

A table showing the 10 most dangerous states to drive in.
A table showing the 10 most dangerous states to drive in. | Agruss Law Firm/NHTSA

As we can see, the data shows that Mississippi is the most dangerous state to drive in. The analysis reveals that between 2010 and 2019, a total of 4,052 drivers were killed in accidents while driving in that state. That equates to 136.7 deaths per 100,000 people in that state.

Wyoming came in second place with 733 driver fatalities within the 10-year period. According to the data, that’s 139% higher than the national average, and it doesn’t look like it’s declining, considering that the state’s number got worse over time.

Alabama is the third-most dangerous state to drive in, as there were 5,512 fatalities during the 10-year span. According to the Agruss Law Firm, that’s 112% higher than the national average, but fatalities have declined ever since.

There is a common trend among these dangerous states

Officers inspect the wreckage of a car that they were chasing.
Officers inspect the wreckage of a car that they were chasing. | Joseph Prezioso / AFP

Looking at the data, one interesting fact is that six out of 10 of them are Southern states. A spokesperson from the Agruss Law Firm commented on these findings:

“Across the United States, we rely on cars to get around. It’s therefore important to understand which states you are most likely to find yourself in a fatal accident. The study finds that most of the most dangerous states are based in the south, with Mississippi taking the spot of the most dangerous state for driving, based on a rate of 136.7 deaths per 100,000 people, which is 157% higher than the United States average. Around 400 drivers are killed each year in Mississippi, and those numbers have not declined over the course of the 10-year study.”

What to do if you find yourself driving in one of these states

The deployed airbag inside the remains of a Enzo Ferrari previously wrecked by actor Eddie Griffin.
The deployed airbag is inside the remains of an Enzo Ferrari previously wrecked by actor Eddie Griffin. | Michael Tullberg/Getty Images

While the data shows that, statistically speaking, you’re more likely to get into an accident when driving through one of these 10 states, it’s important to protect yourself when driving. Here are some important driver safety tips according to the NHTSA:

  • Stay alert: Be aware of your surroundings at all times and make sure not to answer text messages while driving. Also, rest if you feel tired, as that can be worse than driving drunk in some cases.
  • Avoid risky behaviors: Do not text or drive distracted. Remember to follow the speed limits and don’t drive while impaired by alcohol or illegal substances.
  • Use your driver-assist features: While the built-in driver-assist features may not always protect you, it’s important to understand how to use them. For example, the car’s forward collision warning could prevent you from hitting other cars or pedestrians in a low-speed situation.

No matter which state you drive in, driving safely is important. However, if your state happens to be one of the aforementioned 10 states, you may want to be extra careful. Otherwise, you could become part of the statistics.


Highway Signs Showing Car Fatalities Are Causing Crashes, Study Says