What State has the Highest Fatal Car Crashes? (Fatal Car Crash Statistics)

We came across some interesting data from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) on USA car crash fatalities. The data was tabulated by Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), and we have turned it into graphical infographics.

“There were 35,766 fatal motor vehicle crashes in the United States in 2020 in which 38,824 deaths occurred”

We have specifically looked at crash fatalities by state to discover which one has the most car crash deaths. Though the data is morbid, it does show certain states that consistently have fatal deaths.

The state with the highest fatal car accident deaths per 100,000 was Mississippi.

Certain factors will affect a state’s crash death numbers such as population size, road speed laws, weather conditions, and how good emergency response is. Saying that, the deep south states consistently have high car crash numbers and mortality rates.

States with the highest fatal crashes per 100,000

Infographic showing fatal car crashes per 100,000
Copyright: Automole.net – (only use with link attribution)

States with the highest total number of fatal crashes

Infographic showing total fatal crashes by state
Copyright: Automole.net – (only use with link attribution)

Looking back at previous data from 2015, the same states are in the top 10.

states with the highest road fatalities
Source: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-10-15/the-geography-of-car-deaths-in-america

Why do Mississippi and the Deep South states have so many fatal crashes?

In Mississippi, traffic accidents cause hundreds of fatalities each year. Many of these mishaps could have been prevented entirely. You can learn how to prevent these collisions and make your state’s roads safer by looking at the typical reasons for fatal auto accidents.

Mississippi has a significant issue. It has one of the country’s greatest per-capita traffic accident mortality rates, per the Mississippi State Department of Health, and auto accidents are the state’s leading cause of injury-related fatalities.

Google search showing the number of Mississippi car crashes today
A Google search will highlight all recent fatal car crashes in Mississippi

The top reasons for car accidents in Mississippi are as follows:

Drunk/Drug Driving

The single biggest factor for car crashes in Mississippi is drivers being under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or both. A third of all crashes in the state involve someone under the influence.

The local state police need to drastically increase DUI checkpoints across the state to combat drunk driving and save lives.

Distracted Driving

In this state, distracted driving continues to be a major factor in auto accidents. According to the Mississippi Department of Health, one-third of adult drivers and three-quarters of cell phone users admit to using their phones while driving.

While using a cell phone while driving is understandably dangerous, distracted driving is any activity that diverts your focus from the driver’s task. It can include mental diversionary activities that keep your attention from the road: visual diversionary activities that divert your eyes, and manual diversionary activities that keep your hands from the steering wheel.

Violation of Traffic Laws

A high proportion of car accidents in Mississippi are caused by people driving without a driver’s license and proper training, they may also be banned from driving due to DUIs.

To acquire a driving license in Mississippi, you must pass a driving skills test, along with a theory test and eye test.  You also need all the correct documentation like proofs of residency and a valid passport, along with paying a fee.

We would love to know the proportion of Mississippi drivers on the road without an approved driving license, it’s a scary thought.  Combine no formal driving training with alcohol, and it’s a recipe for disaster.


There is a reason why posted speed restrictions are there. On the road, sudden incidents can occur anytime, and drivers need ample space or time to respond appropriately.  You always need to have a safe stopping distance, especially in wet conditions.

According to the Mississippi Office of Highway Safety, in a recent five-year period, there were 103 speeding-related fatalities annually.

Mississippi speed limits are as follows:

  • Residential Areas – 25 MPH
  • Undivided Roads – 55 MPH
  • Divided Roads = 65 MPH
  • Freeways – 70PMH

Dangerous road conditions

A study of NHTSA crash data found a connection between high accident rates and dangerous road conditions. Among the states with the worst lighting in the country is Mississippi. The American Society of Civil Engineers has given at least a quarter of all state roadways a “poor” or “fair” rating over the previous five years. Car accidents in the U.S now exceed the 5.5 million mark each year due to a rise in accident cases.

Aggressive Driving

Aggressive driving can include any risky activity, whether done carelessly or intentionally with malice in mind. A traffic infraction becomes a felony when aggressive driving is either a threat of bodily harm or a real physical attack. Among the most intense and lethal types of dangerous driving is road rage.

It’s a federal crime that happens when drivers knowingly break the law on the highway with the intent to assault, endanger, or threaten another person with a vehicle or deadly weapon or to make that individual fear for the safety of their people or entity, despite similarities to other forms of aggressive driving.

Vehicle maintenance issues

Defective vehicles are also a large cause of car accidents in Mississippi. Unlike the UK, cars in the USA do not need a regular check of roadworthiness. In the UK, every car needs an MOT certificate to prove it is road legal – this has to be renewed every year.  If your brake lights are defective for example, you will not get the MOT certificate until the problem is fixed. No MOT certificate while driving leads to a fine.   Why doesn’t the USA implement this?  It would have thousands of lives per year.

defective car in Mississippi

Driving while fatigued

Fatigued drivers may fail to identify risks they would otherwise have seen. In other instances, they might nod off while driving, veer into another lane, or get off the road completely. According to NHTSA data, 795 Americans lost their lives in sleepy car crashes in one current year.

Fatal Car Crash Statistics FAQs

What are the statistics on dying in a car crash?

It is estimated that 1 in every 200 people will die in a car accident in their lifetime in the USA.

What speed does it take to die in a car crash?

There is a risk of death at only 30 MPH if you have a crash, though it may only be a 5% chance.

What is the most common cause of car crashes?

The most common cause of car crashes is human error, usually by distraction or intoxication.