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Study Compares State Crash Fatality Rates

October 02, 2015

Fatality rate from road crashes per population, 2013. Source: UMTRI.
Fatality rate from road crashes per population, 2013. Source: UMTRI.

A new study concludes that U.S. crash fatalities in 2013 represented 1.3 percent of fatalities from all causes, with Montana having the highest road death rate (2.4 percent) and the District of Columbia having the lowest (0.4 percent).

The study, released by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, compares road deaths to other causes of death in each state. Researchers relied on 2013 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The U.S. saw 10.4 road crash fatalities per 100,000 people, as compared with 193.3 from heart diseases, 185 from cancer, 47.2 from lung diseases, 40.8 from strokes, and 26.8 from Alzheimer’s disease, according to the report. The highest rate of fatal road crashes per 100,000 people was 22.6 in Montana – 7.3 times the lowest rate of 3.1 in the District of Columbia. The five states with the highest rates were Montana, Mississippi, North Dakota, West Virginia and Alabama. The five with the lowest rates were the District of Columbia, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island.

Collision fatalities as a percentage of deaths from other causes varied greatly among the states, the study concluded. “For example, fatalities from road crashes as a percentage of fatalities from Alzheimer’s disease ranged from 91.4% in New Mexico to 13.3% in Washington,” researchers noted in the project’s summarizing abstract.

Fatalities from road collisions corresponded to 5.4 percent of fatalities from heart diseases, 5.6 percent of fatalities from cancer, 21.9 percent of fatalities from lung diseases, 25.4 percent of fatalities from strokes, and 38.6 percent of fatalities from Alzheimer’s disease, the study found.

The study’s authors are Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle.

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