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FHWA Home / Safety / Local and Rural Road / Rural Fatalities

Rural Fatalities

According to the latest data from NHTSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), the fatality rate for rural crashes is more than twice the fatality rate in urban crashes. In 2007, 23,260 people were killed in rural motor vehicle crashes, accounting for 57 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities. Table 1 shows fatalities (number and percent) and the fatality rate by year from 1997 to 2007.

Table 1: Fatalities and Fatality Rate by Rural/Urban Roadway by Year
Year Rural Roadway Urban Roadway Total*
Fatalities % Rate** Fatalities % Rate** Fatalities Rate**
1997 25,135 60% 2.52 16,829 40% 1.08 42,013 1.64
1998 25,185 61% 2.44 16,219 39% 1.02 41,501 1.58
1999 25,548 61% 2.40 16,058 38% 0.99 41,717 1.55
2000 24,838 59% 2.29 16,113 38% 0.97 41,945 1.53
2001 25,150 60% 2.27 16,988 40% 1.01 42,196 1.51
2002 25,896 60% 2.30 17,013 40% 0.98 43,005 1.51
2003 24,957 58% 2.30 17,783 41% 0.98 42,884 1.48
2004 25,179 59% 2.36 17,581 41% 0.93 42,836 1.44
2005 24,587 57% 2.38 18,627 43% 0.95 43,510 1.46
2006 23,339 55% 2.25 18,359 43% 0.93 42,642 1.41
2007 23,260 57% 2.25 17,799 43% 0.89 41,059 1.37
Source: NCSA, FARS 1997-2005 (Final), 2006 (ARF), FHWA
* Total includes fatalities on unknown roadway
** Fatality rate per 100M VMT

Characteristics of Rural Crashes

By nearly every quantifiable measure, rural highway fatalities exceed the national average.

FATALITIES IN MOTOR VEHICLE TRAFFIC CRASHES OCCURRING IN RURAL AREAS
5-YEAR AVERAGE FOR 2002 TO 2006
RURAL VEHICLE MILES TRAVELED (VMT), AND FATALITY RATES PER 100 MILLION RURAL VMT, BY STATE {SORTED BY FATALITY RATE}
Rank/State Rural VMT
(Millions)
5-Year Average
Fatalities in Rural
Crashes 5-Year
Average
Fatality Rate per
100 Million Rural
VMT 5-Year Average
1 Florida 41,372 1,466 3.54
2 Arizona 17,869 597 3.34
3 South Carolina 28,515 912 3.20
4 Mississippi 24,442 747 3.06
5 Nevada 5,542 158 2.85
6 Montana 8,445 232 2.75
7 Louisiana 21,731 588 2.71
8 Missouri 31,069 840 2.70
9 Kentucky 27,187 721 2.65
10 California 63,977 1,678 2.62
11 South Dakota 6,550 171 2.60
12 North Carolina 43,229 1,124 2.60
13 Arkansas 19,809 513 2.59
14 Delaware 3,178 82 2.57
15 Utah 8,161 209 2.56
16 New Mexico 13,743 351 2.55
17 Texas 81,418 2,064 2.53
18 Alabama 29,671 747 2.52
19 Idaho 8,950 218 2.44
20 Kansas 14,793 360 2.43
21 Oklahoma 22,658 551 2.43
22 Tennessee 29,896 709 2.37
23 West Virginia 13,907 329 2.37
24 Colorado 15,314 361 2.36
25 Washington 16,873 384 2.27
26 Wyoming 6,654 148 2.23
27 Alaska 2,463 54 2.21
28 Pennsylvania 40,852 880 2.15
29 Hawaii 2,619 56 2.15
30 Ohio 38,374 810 2.11
31 Oregon 16,760 348 2.08
32 Michigan 33,167 678 2.04
33 Nebraska 11,434 223 1.95
34 Wisconsin 29,375 561 1.91
35 Illinois 30,668 576 1.88
36 Georgia 45,561 851 1.87
37 Maryland 14,727 268 1.82
38 Virginia 31,342 567 1.81
39 Iowa 19,124 337 1.76
40 North Dakota 5,561 94 1.70
41 New York 36,769 602 1.64
42 Maine 10,951 179 1.64
43 Rhode Island 900 15 1.62
44 Indiana 36,997 587 1.59
45 Minnesota 27,223 420 1.54
46 New Jersey 8,475 130 1.53
47 New Hampshire 6,679 101 1.52
48 Connecticut 3,934 57 1.44
49 Massachusetts 5,177 66 1.28
50 Vermont 5,923 72 1.21
. National 1,070,010 24,792 2.32
Puerto Rico 2,003 238 11.87

The fatality rate and total number of rural deaths by state can be found at the end of this document.

Page last modified on March 14, 2012.
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