The Most Dangerous States For Drivers 2023

| October 30, 2023

The new study from Forbes Advisor revealed that Montana is the most dangerous state for drivers, while New Jersey is the safest

Highlights from report: 

  • Montana’s 150,446 miles of roadway are the most dangerous in the nation. The Big Sky State has a higher than-average number of fatal accidents and deaths per capita, the risk of a collision on Montana’s roads has also increased by 12% since 2020, and an overwhelming majority of all collisions (90%) involve impaired motorists. 
  • South Carolina, Texas, Louisiana, and Alabama are all among the top 10 most dangerous states to drive in, making the southern region of the U.S. a high-risk place for motorists.
  • New Jersey has the safest roads in America. A low rate of fatal car accidents per capita and some of the lowest rates of impaired driving and speeding-related fatalities in the United States make it the safest place for motorists. 
  • Hawaii and Washington D.C. experience the most fatalities due to excessive speed (47%) than anyplace else in the U.S. 

Auto accidents are among the leading causes of death among adults and children. But did you know your chances of being involved in a fatal car crash are higher in some states than others?

Montana, South Carolina and New Mexico are the top three most dangerous states for drivers, while New Jersey, Nebraska and Maine rank as the safest states for drivers in 2023.

Forbes Adviser examined key metrics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), including the number of fatal car accidents and the percent of fatalities caused by negligent driving, to determine which states are the safest for drivers and which are the most dangerous states to drive in.

If you were involved in an accident and live in one of the most dangerous states for drivers, use our auto accident lawsuit guide to find an attorney near you.

Why You Can Trust Forbes Advisor

Key Takeaways

  • Montana is the most dangerous state for drivers, with a higher-than-average number of fatal accidents and deaths per capita.
  • New Jersey is the safest state for drivers, with fewer fatal accidents and fewer fatalities from speeding and impaired driving.
  • Idaho experienced the most significant increase in car accident fatalities at 27%, while Wyoming experienced the largest decrease in fatalities at -13%.
  • Hawaii has the highest number of car accident fatalities due to speeding at 48%, while Florida has the lowest among car accident fatalities due to speeding at just 10%.
  • Texas has the highest amount of driving fatalities due to impaired driving at a whopping 91%.
  • Kentucky has the lowest rate of impaired driving fatalities at 50%, with only 18% of fatal accidents in the state caused by speeding

Top 10 Most Dangerous States to Drive in

Many of the most dangerous states to drive in have stretches of rural highways through mountain passes, including Montana, New Mexico, Wyoming and Arizona. These roads become extremely treacherous during winter, where snow, ice and deadly speed limits often mix with tragic results.

Montana and South Carolina remain the deadliest states for drivers in 2023. Speeding is responsible for more than a third of fatal crashes in both states, but impaired and negligent driving led to nearly 90% of Montana’s auto fatalities.

Texas, however, is the most dangerous state for negligent driving, where impaired drivers cause 91% of fatal accidents. Texans are also the most confrontational drivers in the country, which may contribute to why fatal collisions increased in Texas by 16%.

The table below lists the most dangerous states for drivers. Montana, South Carolina and New Mexico round out the top three.

Top 10 Safest States to Drive in

New Jersey is the safest state to drive in, although it’s worth noting that fatal accidents did increase in the Garden State by 19% year-over-year. Speeding and impaired driving contributed to 82% of fatalities when it was just 56% in last year’s ranking.

Comparatively, speeding in Nebraska only caused 16% of fatal auto accidents, one of the lowest in the nation. However, drivers in New Jersey are still more likely to wear their seatbelts, and the state’s strict driving laws for new drivers help keep its roads safer than anywhere else in the nation.

Maine rounds out the top three safest states to drive in, with the total number of fatal crashes per capita dropping 7%.

The table below compares the top ten safest states to drive in.

The Safest and Most Dangerous States for Drivers

Do you live in one of the safest states for drivers or one of the most dangerous?

Out of the top ten deadliest states for driving, Wyoming and South Carolina tie for the most speeding deaths as a percentage of overall fatalities at 41%. High speed limits in Wyoming, which reach 80 mph on state highways, contribute to the increased number of deaths. South Carolina’s percentage of speeding-related fatalities actually fell from 46%, though the overall number of fatal crashes increased.

Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Maryland and New York have very high rates of impaired driving deaths despite being among the safest states for driving. More than 72% of fatal accidents in each of these states are caused by drunk or distracted driving.

Kansas has one of the lowest impaired driving fatality rates in the nation at 55%, outranked only by West Virginia (53%), Utah (51%), and Kentucky (50%). And while Utah and Kansas residents are some of the safest drivers and less likely to drive drunk than in other states, fatal accidents still increased in Utah by 19% without increasing at all in Kansas.

Deadly Statistics For The Most Dangerous States for Drivers

Places that didn’t make it onto our top ten lists of the most dangerous and safest states for driving are still risky spots to be on the road. South Dakota ranks 12th for the most dangerous, with a 5% increase in fatal crashes, while over 77% of those accidents were caused by drunk or negligent driving.

In Iowa, which ranks 38th, over 74% of fatal crashes are caused by impaired driving, even though the state’s overall rate of fatal crashes only increased by 4%. Similarly, North Dakota ranks 27th with a 1% increase in fatal crashes per capita. However, over 70% of these crashes were caused by drunk or distracted driving.

Many other states that saw a year-over-year decrease in fatal crashes still have a high rate of impaired driving fatalities. Maryland saw fatalities drop 2%, but impaired drivers were behind over 75% of these fatal accidents. And Rhode Island saw fatalities decrease by 6%, even with negligent drivers causing 84% of accidents.


Christy Bieber, J.D. Contributor

Category: Driver Stuff, Featured, Fleet Tracking, General Update, News, Safety, Transit News

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