According to a recent article on Forbes.com, even though there are more traffic accidents per 100,000 residents within the limits of America’s urban areas, aka cities, accidents that occur on open highways and rural roads are far more likely to result in fatalities. Montana, for example, whose roads are 98% open highways have a fatality rate of 22.6 per 100,000 state residents, the most deadly in the country. In second and third place is Mississippi and North Dakota, each with around 20.5 fatalities per 100,000.
At the safer end of the motor vehicle fatality spectrum are the cities with technically the worst driving records. The commuter-packed highways of Washington D.C., where impatient drivers, package delivery trucks and rabid taxi drivers cram the highways, and where drivers pay the highest insurance premiums in the country, have the lowest fatality rates for drivers at only 3.1 deaths per 100,000 residents. Boston Massachusetts, another hub of driving insanity, comes in low as well at only 4.9 deaths per 100,000 residents.
Speeding Is A Major Cause of Accidents That Cause Deaths
While there are many variables that could account for the increased fatalities on open highways where there is far less traffic, it would appear that speeding is the leading cause of motor vehicle accidents that result in death. Even an apparently obvious factor like poor road conditions due to bad weather in states like Alaska, Minnesota and Utah doesn’t effect fatality rates nearly as much as speeding does as these states have relatively low fatality rates.
Open Highways Encourage Speeding
When one examines the statistics for the ten states with the highest fatality rates, a factor that is common to all is that a large percentage of all of their roads are open highways. Montana’s roads are 96% open highway as are 85% of Mississippi’s and 96% of North Dakota’s. The safest place to drive, Washington D.C. has zero percent (0%) open highway. And not coincidently, the safest places to drive are also have the lowest maximum speed limits with Washington D.C.’s at 55 mph, and Massachusetts’, and New Jersey’s at 65 mph. The deadly states of Montana, Mississippi, and North Dakota have maximum speed limits, if you can call them that, of 80, 70 and 75 respectively.
It is plain to see that states with a high percentage of open highways that encourage high rates of speed have the highest per capita fatality rates. It is a wonder why insurance companies have not taken this fact into consideration and raised the insurance premiums for drivers in theses states accordingly.