Safest and Most Dangerous States for Drivers
Driving in the United States is not without its risk. Currently, there are about 6 million car accidents each year and out of those accidents, around 38,000 of them are fatal. While driving puts you at risk just about anywhere you go, some states fare better than others when it comes to driver safety.
Sure, places like California are known for having some of the craziest drivers around but where are the truly most dangerous states for driver? And where are the safest states for driving?
We’ve compiled a list of the most dangerous and safest states for drivers in the United States. Combining data from SmartFinancial and Bank Rate, we’ve come up with the best and worst states for drivers.
Taking into consideration road DUI arrests, fatalities and those driving without insurance, the following states made the cut in one way or another. Other factors included weather, driver quality and driver safety. Weighing all these factors, we determined which states posed the greatest risk and the least amount of risk. Some of these states we were surprised to see on the list.
With that said, here are the Safest and Most Dangerous States for Drivers! Let’s take a look…
According to SmartFinancial’s statistics, Kentucky ranks as the most dangerous state for drivers. It has been estimated that there are 514 DUI arrested per 100,000 drivers. And for every 100 miles driven, there are 1.48 fatalities. Kentucky has consistently earned a top spot as one of the most dangerous states for driving.
And should you get into an accident, you may likely deal with an uninsured driver as the percentage of uninsured drivers is at 13.9%. On Bankrate’s list of the Best and Worst States for Driving, Kentucky ranked only 41 in driving safety and for weather, it ranked number 35. All of this makes it rank as the most dangerous state for drivers.
Mississippi is the second-most dangerous state for drivers. Mississippi had a staggering 5,269 DUI arrests and 643 traffic fatalities in 2019, making it the second-highest traffic fatalities per capita. Today it is estimated that there are around 256 DUI arrests per 100,000 drivers and a traffic fatality rate of 1.56 per 100 million miles.
Mississippi does extremely poorly when it comes to the number of uninsured drivers. You have about a one in third chance of running into one as its percentage of uninsured is 29.4%. When it came to its driver safety rank, it was easily one of the lowest at number 48.
Dangerous: New Mexico
New Mexico is the third most dangerous state for drivers according to SmartFinancial’s statistics. Out of every 100,000 drivers, there are 289 DUI arrests, making it more likely you are on the road with a drunk driver. The number of traffic fatalities per 100 million miles driven is 1.53.
The percentage of uninsured drivers was 21.8%, meaning that around 1 in 5 drivers is uninsured. New Mexico ranked pretty low in terms of driver safety, coming in at number 37. On the upside, it ranked number three for weather — so it has that going for it.
Wyoming is easily one of the most dangerous states due to its overwhelming DUI arrests. There are an estimated 750 arrests per every 100,000 drivers. The rate of traffic fatalities was 1.44 for every 100 million miles driven. While these statistics certainly aren’t great, the state does have one advantage.
Compared to other states, the number of uninsured drivers is significantly less. The Cowboy State has a percentage of uninsured drivers that’s just 5.8%. Impressive but that doesn’t make up for the fact that they are among the worst for DUI arrests per capita. It ranks number 50 when it comes to driver safety and number 32 for the weather.
Oklahoma is the fifth most dangerous state in the country for drivers. Out of every 100,000 drivers, 359 are arrested for DUIs. Traffic fatalities in the state amount to 1.43 out of every 100 million miles driven. In 2019, there were 9,053 DUI arrests total and 640 traffic fatalities.
When it comes to uninsured drivers, the number is moderately high. Around 13.4% of drivers are uninsured in the state. And we hope they have a hefty savings, because the state ranks number 42 in driver safety. Hopefully, Oklahoma can get it together or they’ll see themselves in higher in the next ranking.
Tennessee ranks as one of the most dangerous states for drivers due to its high percentage of uninsured drivers and its moderately high DUI rate. The state has around 350 DUI arrests per every 100,000 drivers. Fatalities amount to 1.37 for every 100,000 miles driven.
As for the uninsured, Tennessee has about 23.7% of its driving population that are not insured. And when you consider that it ranks 45 in driver safety, that puts you in a exceedingly precarious situation when you are out on the road. As for weather it ranks 27th in the country.
Idaho comes in as the 7th most dangerous city for drivers because of its high DUI rate. In Idaho, there are about 630 DUI arrests for every 100,000 drivers. Fatalities are certainly prevalent as well, considering that there are 1.24 out of every 100 million miles driven.
Uninsured drivers are a problem as well since 13.2% of drivers don’t have insurance. The state’s driver safety ranking currently sits at number 34 and its ranking for weather is number 23. However, the driving quality rank is one of the highest in the country, coming in at number 2.
Montana ranks as one of the most dangerous states for drivers thanks to its high DUI rate and fatality rate. The state of Montana has about 453 DUI arrests for every 100,000 drivers on the road. Around 1.43 traffic fatalities happen every 100,000 miles.
When it comes to uninsured drivers, the percentage is on the lower side, with only 8.5% of drivers who are not insured. Driver safety is definitely an issue, though, as the state comes in at number 47 in that regard. At least drivers are taking responsibility and paying for the insurance they need.
The state of Alaska has a high DUI rate but is on the lower side when it comes to fatalities. For every 100,000 drivers, there are at least 539 DUI arrests on the road. As for traffic fatalities, Alaska has around 1.14 for every 100 million miles driven in the state.
Alaska ranks among the very worst states when it comes to weather. With the weather clearly putting drivers at risk, the state ranks number 49 in that regard. Alaska also has a driver safety rank of 33. On top of this, there’s a moderately high percentage of drivers whom are uninsured — around 16.1%
Last on the list of the most dangerous states for drivers is the Sunshine State. The state of Florida comes in at 10th in part due to its high fatality rate. For every 100 million miles driven there are 1.41 fatalities, which is one of the highest numbers on this list.
DUI rates are on the lower side but still moderately high. For every 100,000 drivers, there are around 218 DUI arrests. On top of all that, the state has a driver quality ranking of 33 and a driver safety rank of 29. Uninsured drivers account for about 20.4%.
Ohio ranks as the 10th safest state for drivers. For every 100,000 drivers, there are only 153 arrests out on the road. This is not, however, meant to minimize the impact that drunk drivers have on others. Even one drunk driver can cause harm to others. So, 153 arrests per capita is still quite a bit, it’s just on the lower side of things, making the state somewhat safer for others.
The fatality rate in the state is lower as well, sitting at 1.01 for every 100 million miles driven. On Bank Rate’s list of the best and worst drivers, Ohio actually ranked number one – making it the best state for drivers. In terms of its driver safety rank, it was number 12 and its driver quality rank was number 18.
Vermont had somewhat high cases of DUI arrests in 2019 with 428 arrests per every 100,000 drivers. Its fatality rate, on the other hand, was just 0.64 for every 100 million miles driven. The percentage of uninsured drivers was 8.8%. These numbers help put Vermont in the top 10 safest states for drivers.
Vermont is the worst when it comes to weather, ranking 50th, but its driver safety rank and driving quality rank seem to make up for it. Its driving safety rank was 16 and its driving quality rank was 22, which is definitely on the better side of things.
Safe: New Hampshire
New Hampshire is the eighth safest state for drivers. Although its 428 arrests per every 100,000 drivers is not ideal, the fatality rate is on the low side at 0.73 for every 100 million miles. The uninsured rate is also low at 6.1% meaning you’re a lot less likely to run into an insured driver — or have them run into you.
New Hampshire’s weather problem undoubtedly hindered it from taking the top spot when it came to Bank Rate’s list of the best and worst states for drivers but it did better in driver quality and safety, earning ranks of 32 and 28, respectively.
The seventh safest state for drivers is Pennsylvania. This state has just 139 arrests per every 100,000 drivers. Its fatality rate is 1.03 for every 100 million miles. Amongst its safest cities for driving are Pottsville, Kingston, Middleton, Sunbury and Stroudsburg.
Pennsylvania fares best when it comes to its driver safety rank. In that category, it ranked number 13. Its percentage of uninsured is also impressive since only 6.0% of drivers are traveling without insurance. All of this helps make Pennsylvania one of the safest states for drivers.
Illinois, most notably, is one of the safest states in terms of DUI cases. The number of DUI cases is just a mere five for every 100,000 drivers on the road. The fatality rate is not the lowest but it’s still less than one at 0.94 for every 100 million miles driven.
Illinois also ranked the very best in terms of driver safety on Bank Rate’s list of the best states for drivers. Its second-best category was the weather but in that regard, it was only number 31. As for uninsured drivers, around 11.8% are uninsured, which isn’t great but certainly not the worst.
And now we are in the top five with Connecticut being the fifth safest state for drivers in the country. Connecticut’s DUI numbers are at 291 for every 100,000 drivers. While somewhat high, the fatality rate for every 100 million miles was 0.79, making fatalities on the road a lot rarer.
The percentage of uninsured drivers in Connecticut is 6.3%, so most drivers are insured on the road. In terms of driver safety, Connecticut ranked number five, according to Bank Rate. This gives it a clear advantage over other states. However, these numbers are always subject to change.
Utah has 240 DUI arrests among every 100,000 drivers. The state has a population of 3,271,616, putting the arrest numbers relatively low. Utah’s fatality record isn’t too bad either, with 0.71 fatalities for every 100 million miles driven. All these things considered, and Utah is a relatively safe place to drive.
The state also ranks significantly well when it comes to driver quality rank, weather and driving safety. For driver quality rank, the state earned a ranking of 10. For weather, Utah received a ranking of 8 and for driver safety it earned a 7. Uninsured drivers account for about 6.5%, which is on the better side of things, to be sure.
Safe: New Jersey
In the top third spot is New Jersey. For every 100,000 drivers, 331 of them are arrested for DUI each year. And for every 100 million miles driven, there are 0.75 cases of fatalities. These are decent numbers considering the state’s population of 9,288,994.
New Jersey’s driver safety rank is number four, which puts it among the top spots for the best states for drivers. In other regards, such as weather and driver quality, it didn’t fare as well but it easily has the best percentage of uninsured drivers, having a percentage of just 3.1% who are uninsured.
Safe: New York
New York has a driver safety rank of number two from Bank Rate and it’s also number two as one of the safest states for drivers according to Smart Financial. Out of every 100 million miles driven, there are 0.75 fatalities, which is considerably low when you consider the population of 20,215,751 people.
The uninsured rate of New York is at 4.1 percent. This makes it one of the best states for drivers as most drivers that may, unfortunately, run into you will at least be insured. What’s interesting, however, is that the state only ranks number 42 for driver quality.
And the number one safest state for drivers is Massachusetts. The state earned a driving safety rank of number 6 from Bank Rate and took the number one spot from SmartFinancial because of its low fatality rate, uninsured driver rate, and for its low number of DUI arrests.
The state gets around 190 arrests for every 100,000 drivers. As for fatalities, it has the lowest rate of any state at 0.51 for every 100 million miles driven. Its uninsured rate is 3.5 percent, which is the second-lowest uninsured rate in the country. Pretty impressive numbers all around!