Policy Study

Urban Highway Fatality Rate

The nation’s urban highway fatality rate worsened from 0.70 in 2015 to 0.77 in 2016.

The urban highway fatality rate is one of the new categories added to this year’s Annual Highway Report. The troubling increase in highway fatalities, in addition to other changes we made to the safety metrics in the report, convinced us to add a new category to examine the urban fatality rate. We have analyzed the past three years of data to place the ratings in context.

Fatality Rate Per 100 Million Urban Vehicle-Miles
24th Annual Highway Report

FATALITY RATE PER 100 MILLION URBAN VEHICLE–MILES - Highway Report 2019 Placeholder
FATALITY RATE PER 100 MILLION URBAN VEHICLE–MILES - Highway Report 2019
1 to 10 Very Good 11 to 20 Good 21 to 30 Average 31 to 40 Bad 41 to 50 Very Bad 

The nation’s urban highway fatality rate worsened from 0.70 in 2015 to 0.77 in 2016 (Table 19, Urban Fatality Rate per 100 Million Vehicle-Miles, 2016, Figure 14). The urban fatality rate has increased over the last several years after a decades-long downward trend. While there is no one cause, distracted driving appears to be the biggest contributor. In 2016, 9,917 urban fatalities were reported, more than the 8,704 urban fatalities reported in 2015, as urban VMT (vehicle-miles of travel) increased to 1.29 trillion from 1.25 trillion in 2015. There were more urban fatalities in 2016 than in any year since 2007.

For 2016, Mississippi reported the lowest urban fatality rate, 0.06, while New Mexico reported the highest, 1.81. Most states (35 of 50) reported an increase in their urban fatality rates compared to 2015, led by New Mexico, Kansas and Maryland, which worsened 0.78, 0.47, and 0.42 points, respectively. Three states’ rates were unchanged and 12 states saw their fatality rate decrease, led by Mississippi, Vermont and North Dakota, which improved by 0.68, 0.47, and 0.39 points respectively.

Fatality Rate per 100 Million Urban Vehicle-Miles
RankStateFatality Rate per 100 Million Vehicle-Miles
1Mississippi0.06
2North Dakota0.14
3Vermont0.27
4Minnesota0.33
5New York0.35
6Virginia0.39
7Wisconsin0.43
8Nebraska0.44
9South Dakota0.46
10Maine0.46
11Montana0.53
12Massachusetts0.55
13North Carolina0.58
14Rhode Island0.58
15Ohio0.59
16Iowa0.60
17Utah0.61
18Indiana0.61
19Oregon0.61
20Washington0.62
21California0.62
22New Jersey0.68
23Maryland0.68
24Idaho0.68
25New Hampshire0.70
26Connecticut0.72
27Illinois0.72
28Pennsylvania0.74
29Delaware0.78
30Michigan0.81
31West Virginia0.86
32Colorado0.90
33Missouri0.92
34Texas0.94
35Georgia0.95
36Alabama0.96
37Kansas0.98
38Nevada1.01
39Wyoming1.03
40Tennessee1.03
41Alaska1.04
42Oklahoma1.04
43Louisiana1.06
44South Carolina1.09
45Kentucky1.11
46Arkansas1.13
47Florida1.19
48Hawaii1.32
49Arizona1.52
50New Mexico1.81
Weighted Average0.77
View national trends and state-by-state performances by category:

Full Study: 24th Annual Highway Report

24th Annual Highway Report’s State-by-State Summaries