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What season has the most car accidents?

Fatal Car Accidents by State 2023

Road safety is a significant factor in determining the overall safest U.S. states. Before the effects of COVID-19 came into play, one of the leading causes of death was fatal car accidents. So far, in 2020, there has been an astonishing amount of deaths due to fatal car accidents. In some states, these numbers are closest to the number of deaths already reported in the state alone. Once we can understand the exact numbers, we can understand why these accidents occur more often in select areas.

Types of Fatal Accidents

As of 2019, the leading cause of death in the country is car accidents. No state had any exemptions from this determination, making each one dangerous for driving their cars. However, many states differ in what type of crashes were leading in their areas. Here are some car-related accidents that are most common in each state: side-impact, single-vehicle, multiple-vehicle, and head-on. Despite this, on the other hand, there are also similar causes to these fatal car accidents occurring. Those reasons include speeding, intoxication, distracted driving, auto defects, and bad weather.

Fatal Car Crashes by Population

In 2018, there were 33,654 motor vehicle crashes in the U.S., causing 36,560 deaths. The fatal car crash death rate was 11.2 deaths per 100,000 people and 1.13 deaths per 100 million miles traveled. While states with higher populations had more fatal crashes and deaths, they don’t necessarily have the highest death rates per 100,000 population or deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled. The rate of car accident deaths per 100,000 people ranges from 4.4 to 22.2. The five states with the highest deaths per 100,000 are:

  1. Mississippi (22.2)
  2. South Carolia (20.4)
  3. Alabama (19.5)
  4. Wyoming (19.2)
  5. New Mexico (18.7)

The states with the lowest deaths per 100,000 people are generally located in the Northeast. The five states with the lowest death rates are:

  1. District of Columbia (4.4)
  2. New York (4.8)
  3. Massachusetts (5.2)
  4. Rhode Island (5.6)
  5. New Jersey (6.3)

When it comes to the number of deaths per 100 million vehicles miles traveled, the rates range from 0.54 to 1.83. The five states with the highest death rates per 100 million vehicle miles traveled are:

  1. South Carolina (1.83)
  2. Mississippi (1.63)
  3. Louisiana (1.53)
  4. Arizona (1.41)
  5. West Virginia (1.51)

Again, the states with the lowest deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled are generally located in the Northeast. The five states with the lowest death rates per 100 million vehicle miles traveled are:

  1. Massachusetts (0.54)
  2. Minnesota (0.63)
  3. New Jersey (0.73)
  4. Rhode Island (0.74)
  5. New York (0.76)
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Here are the 10 states with the most fatal car accidents:

  1. Texas — 3,305
  2. California — 3,259
  3. Florida — 2,915
  4. Georgia — 1,407
  5. North Carolina — 1,321
  6. Pennsylvania — 1,103
  7. Ohio — 996
  8. Tennessee — 974
  9. South Carolina — 970
  10. Illinois — 948

What season has the most car accidents?

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According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), summertime is the most dangerous time to be on the road, at least in terms of traffic fatalities. While you might think that the hazards of winter travel would outweigh the moderate conditions of summertime, statistics prove otherwise.

The IIHS reports that some 35,000 traffic fatalities occur in the U.S. every year, and of that number, only about 6% occur during snowy February. However, by the time summer months of June and July arrive, that figure rises toward 9% each month, before reaching a peak in August of slightly over 10%.

After August, traffic fatality statistics begin to decline again as cooler weather approaches. These statistics are counter-intuitive to say the least, because most people would probably predict that winter driving is the most hazardous and would therefore lead to the most fatalities. So, what is it about summer driving that makes it so dangerous?

More drivers on the road

There’s no question there are more people on the roadways during the summer months than at any other time of the year. This fact alone increases the likelihood of some kind of accident occurring. When roadways become congested, driving conditions become more complicated, and there are greater instances of road rage which can lead to problems. Vacationing drivers may also be completely unfamiliar with the area they’re driving through, and that can trigger more erratic and unpredictable moves on the road. Vacationers might also drive much slower than other traffic because they’re unfamiliar with the area, often looking for directions or turnoffs thought to be nearby.

Tire blowouts

According to AAA, there are also more tire blowouts in the summertime than at any other time of year. Since the hot weather causes an expansion of the air inside your tires, it can result in much faster wear on the tread of your tires, and it can also cause the tire to blowout. Before you start out on any extended driving trip, make sure to check your tire pressure as well as the level of tread on your tires to be sure they’re within tolerance.

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More teenagers on the road

Many more teenage drivers are also on the road during summer months due to summer vacation. Having less experienced drivers on the road also contributes to an increased number of accidents. Statistics demonstrate that teenagers are by far the likeliest group to be involved in any kind of traffic accident relative to any other age group.

Construction activities

As most experienced drivers are well aware, summer is the time for roadway construction to be going full tilt. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the work zones created during maintenance and construction activities on the roadways averaged approximately 775 fatalities for the ten-year period between 2005 and 2014. Workers are simply highly exposed in these work zones, so there’s an increased likelihood of driving accidents in these areas during the summertime.

Motorcycles and bicycles on the road

Many more bicycles and motorcycles are on the road during summer, simply because the weather is much more favorable for it. This means drivers have to share the road with these vulnerable motorcyclists and bicyclists. Each year, there are just under 1,000 fatal traffic accidents involving operators of motorcycles or bicycles and motor vehicles. That makes it important for auto drivers to be aware of these individuals and to share the roadways with them in a safe manner.

Are you taking a driving vacation this summer?

If you and your family are considering any kind of driving vacation this summer, be sure to stay safe on Knoxville, TN highways and all the roadways in the U.S. Should you become involved in any kind of auto accident in which injuries are sustained, the first thing you should do is contact a personal injury attorney. When you are represented by a skilled attorney, you’ll have your best chance of being fairly compensated for any injuries that you sustain in an accident.

Road Traffic Injuries and Deaths—A Global Problem

Image of the Los Angeles freeway at rush hour

Road traffic crashes are a leading cause of death in the United States for people ages 1–54, 1 and they are the leading cause of nonnatural death for U.S. citizens residing or traveling abroad. 2 3

Throughout the world, roads are shared by cars, buses, trucks, motorcycles, mopeds, pedestrians, animals, taxis, and other travelers. Travel made possible by motor vehicles supports economic and social development in many countries. Yet each year, vehicles are involved in crashes that are responsible for millions of deaths and injuries.

Whether you’re on the road at home or abroad, know the risks and take steps to protect your health and safety.

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Global Road Traffic Crash Deaths, Injuries, and Costs

  • Each year, 1.35 million people are killed on roadways around the world. 4
  • Every day, almost 3,700 people are killed globally in crashes involving cars, buses, motorcycles, bicycles, trucks, or pedestrians. More than half of those killed are pedestrians, motorcyclists, or cyclists. 4
  • Crash injuries are estimated to be the eighth leading cause of death globally for all age groups and the leading cause of death for children and young people 5–29 years of age. More people now die in crashes than from HIV/AIDS. 4
  • It is estimated that fatal and nonfatal crash injuries will cost the world economy approximately $1.8 trillion dollars (in 2010 USD) from 2015–2030. 5 That’s equivalent to a yearly tax of 0.12% on global GDP (gross domestic product). 5

Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs) Are Most Affected

  • The crash death rate is over three times higher in low-income countries than in high-income countries. 4
  • There were no reductions in the number of crash deaths in any low-income country from 2013 to 2016. 4
  • LMICs only account for 60 percent of the world’s registered vehicles but more than 90 percent of the world’s crash deaths. 4
  • Crash injuries place a major economic burden on LMICs. 6 It is estimated that LMICs will experience approximately $834 billion dollars (in 2010 USD) in economic losses from 2015–2030 due to fatal and nonfatal crash injuries. 5

Save LIVES is a technical package that includes 6 effective strategies and 22 interventions for reducing the impact of road traffic crashes.

Image of traffic in Mandalay at sunset

World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims is held annually on the third Sunday in November to honor and remember the millions of people killed and injured in road crashes every year.

Traffic Conflict Techniques for Evaluating Road Safety Interventions

Screenshot of the cover of the Traffic Conflict Technique Toolkit brochure

The Traffic Conflict Technique (TCT) Toolkit is a comprehensive guide that describes five methods that can be used to evaluate the impact of road safety interventions by collecting and analyzing traffic conflict data. It focuses on protecting pedestrians in school zones in low- and middle-income countries, but it can be used in many settings.

The toolkit was piloted in three school zones in low- and middle-income countries (Ghana, Vietnam, and Mexico) to collect data and analyze pedestrian-vehicle traffic conflicts. Results showed there was a decrease in road traffic conflicts from before implementation to after implementation in each of the three countries, providing evidence that the road safety interventions were effective. TCTs are relatively low cost, simple, and can help decisionmakers evaluate and prioritize strategies for improving road safety with real-world data. Access the TCT Toolkit and the evaluation .

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Motor Vehicle Crash Deaths — United States and 28 Other High-Income Countries, 2015 and 2019

Chart of crash death rates in high-income countries, with the United States having the highest


Chart of crash death rates in high-income countries, with the United States having the highest

New CDC research finds that the United States (U.S.) had higher rates of motor vehicle crash deaths than most other high-income countries in 2019 and lagged behind these other countries in saving lives on the road. For example, the U.S. had the highest population-based death rate (11.1 per 100,000 population). The U.S. rate was 2.3 times higher than the average rate for 28 other high-income countries (4.8 per 100,000 population). In addition, the number of crash deaths in the U.S. further increased in 2020 and 2021.

The U.S. could save more than 20,500 lives and about $280.5 million in annual medical costs (in 2019 USD) if we could reduce the population-based crash death rate to match the average rate of 28 other high-income countries in 2019. The U.S. can re-double efforts to implement proven strategies to save lives on the road and can broadly implement the Safe System approach to reduce motor vehicle crash deaths and injuries in our nation.

You can also check out this interactive data visualization chart created by the National Safety Council which displays data from the CDC Feature Publication.

Steps for Road Safety at Home and Abroad

Motor vehicle crashes are a public health concern both in the United States and abroad. These injuries and deaths are preventable. Whether you are a driver, passenger, cyclist, or pedestrian, take the following steps to stay safe on the road 2 :

  • Always use a seat belt on every trip, no matter how short. Be sure to buckle up whether you are in the front seat or the back seat of the vehicle.
  • Make sure children are always properly buckled in a car seat, booster seat, or seat belt that is appropriate for their age, height, and weight, and ensure they are buckled in the back seat of the vehicle.
  • Always wear a helmet when driving or riding on motorcycles, motorbikes, or bicycles.
  • Do not drive while impaired by alcohol or drugs, and avoid riding with a driver who is impaired.
  • Obey speed limits.
  • Drive without distractions. For example, don’t use a phone to text, email, or access social media while driving.
  • Be alert when crossing streets, especially in countries where motorists drive on the left side of the road.
  • Ride only in marked taxis, and try to ride in taxis that have seat belts.
  • Avoid riding in overcrowded, overweight, or top-heavy buses or minivans.
  • Access more information about road safety, overall safety, and security in every country of the world by visiting the country information page on the U.S. Department of State website. Also, review the CDC Yellow Book: Health Information for International Travelers chapters about Injury & Trauma and Road & Traffic Safety when traveling abroad.
  • Review in-depth profiles about road traffic safety by country in the World Health Organization’s Global Status Reports on Road Safety .
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More Information

CDC Resources

  • CDC’s Global Road Safety Website
  • Motor Vehicle Crash Deaths — United States and 28 Other High-Income Countries, 2015 and 2019
  • Traffic Conflict Technique Toolkit: Making the Journey to and from School Safer for Students
  • Observing Pedestrian-Vehicle Traffic Conflicts in School Zones to Evaluate the Effectiveness of Road Safety Interventions and Reduce Injuries in Ghana, Vietnam, and Mexico, 2019-2021
  • CDC Yellow Book; Chapter 8 – Travel by Air, Land & Sea – Road & Traffic Safety
  • CDC Yellow Book; Chapter 11 – Environmental Hazards & Other Noninfectious Health Risks – Injury & Trauma

External Resources

  • World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims
  • United Nations Global Road Safety Week
  • World Health Organization (WHO): Global Status Report on Road Safety (2018)
  • World Health Organization (WHO): Save LIVES: A Road Safety Technical Package
  • National Safety Council – Motor-Vehicle Deaths in the U.S. Compared to the World – Injury Facts


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). WISQARS — Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control; 2022.
  2. Sauber-Schatz EK, Parker EM, Sleet DA, Ballesteros MF. CDC Health Information for International Travel (Yellow Book 2020 Edition). Chapter 8 – Travel by Air, Land & Sea – Road & Traffic Safety. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); 2020.
  3. S. Department of State — Bureau of Consular Affairs. U.S. Citizen Deaths Overseas . Washington, DC: U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs; 2020.
  4. World Health Organization (WHO). Global Status Report on Road Safety 2018 . Geneva, Switzerland: The World Health Organization (WHO); December 2018.
  5. Chen S, Kuhn M, Prettner K, Bloom DE. The global macroeconomic burden of road injuries: estimates and projections for 166 countries . Lancet Planet Health. 2019;3(9):e390–398.
  6. World Health Organization (WHO). World Report on Road Traffic Injury Prevention . Geneva, Switzerland: The World Health Organization (WHO). Peden M, Scurfield R, Sleet D, Mohan D, Hyder AA, Jarawan E, Mathers C, eds; 2004.
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