In 2020, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported 35,766 fatal vehicle crashes — the most since 2007.1
While COVID-19 cleared the streets that year, many state officials believe it led to more reckless driving — citing upticks in distracted driving and drunk driving statistics as evidence of the increase. AAA found that people with reckless driving habits increased their driving during the pandemic.2
For certain states with higher accident rates in 2020, the metrics are a spike from previous years. Other states, however, maintained high accident rates for different reasons — like poor road conditions and high speed limits.
Mississippi has the highest number of fatal car accidents per population with a death rate of 22.2 deaths per 100,000 people. This number correlates with Mississippi drivers admitting to spending 8% of driving time on their phones. The state also sits amongst the lowest seat belt usage in the country.3, 4
Keep reading as we explore the five states with the highest death rate for fatal car accidents, the reasons behind the high rankings and how to navigate the process after a car accident with your car insurance company.
Methodology: We've ranked the states by the number of deaths from car accidents per 100,000 people. The most recent data regarding fatal car accidents is from 2020, so we’ve used data from that year to inform our findings.