Red States & Blue States Divided… in Car Accident Risks

After way-too-many months of being bombarded with countless political ads, you may think you have heard everything possible about the differences between red states and blue states.

There is, however, one new fact that may surprise you: red states may be more dangerous places to drive, as recent statistics indicate that the states with the ten highest fatality rates are all red. By contrast, all but one of the 10 states with the lowest fatality rates were blue states.

There are several different theories that help to explain the discrepancy between red and blue states when it comes to accident fatalities… and at least one of those theories actually does have to do with politics!

Ultimately, though, no matter where you live, our Charlotte car accident lawyers believe that the best way for car accident deaths to be avoided is for everyone to drive safely and pay attention to the rules and laws intended to keep the roads safe. 1212772_americana.jpg

The Data on Red States vs. Blue States
According to a November article on NBC News.com, federal statistics on car accidents show that the states with the most deaths per 100,000 people are overwhelmingly red states while the states with the least deaths per 100,000 people are overwhelmingly blue.

The top 10 states with the highest fatality rates were:

  • Wyoming, with 27.46 deaths per 100,000 people.
  • Mississippi, with 21.58 deaths per 100,000 people.
  • Arkansas, with 19.27 deaths per 100,000 people.
  • Montana, with 19.07 deaths per 100,000 people.
  • Alabama, with 18.01 deaths per 100,000 people.
  • Oklahoma, with 17.76 deaths per 100,000 people.
  • Kentucky, with 17.49 deaths per 100,000 people.
  • South Carolina, with 17.47 deaths per 100,000 people.
  • South Dakota, with 17.15 deaths per 100,000 people.
  • West Virginia, with 16.99 deaths per 100,000 people.

By contrast, only one of the 10 states at the bottom of the list of deaths per 100,000 people was a red states (Alaska, with 7.84 deaths per 100,000 people). The other states with the lowest fatality rates included:

  • District of Columbia, with 3.97 deaths per 100,000 people.
  • Massachusetts, with 4.79 deaths per 100,000 people.
  • New York, with 6.19 deaths per 100,000 people.
  • Rhode Island, with 6.27 deaths per 100,000 people.
  • New Jersey, with 6.32 deaths per 100,000 people.
  • Washington, with 6.79 deaths per 100,000 people.
  • Illinois with 7.22 deaths per 100,000 people.
  • California with 7.27 deaths per 100,000 people.
  • Minnesota, with 7.74 deaths per 100,000 people.

As these numbers show, not only are there more deaths per capita in the Red States, but there are significantly more with Wyoming having a full 27.46 deaths for every 100,000 residents as compared to Washington D.C. that has only 3.97.

Explaining the Divide
Although no one really has an answer that can explain the discrepancy in auto accident fatalities, NBC news presents a number of possible explanations for the fact that there are so many more deaths per capita in red states.

One theory is that red states may have looser regulations, causing more deaths (this is the political theory). An example of these lax laws is that Texas now has an area of road with a maximum speed limit of 85 miles per hour, which is the highest maximum speed limit in the United States.

Access to better trauma centers in blue states is another possible theory that has been floated as an explanation, as has the theory that red states tend to be more rural and thus have people driving for long stretches on narrow, winding roadways. Finally, it is proposed that lower education and income levels in red states could help to explain the increased number of deaths per person in red states. This, however, is all speculation and, in fact, the support for the various theories isn’t always grounded in hard fact. For example, although red states are said to have looser regulations, many of these states have helmet laws for motorcycle riders while some of the most liberal blue states are lacking in this regard.

Finally, complicating matters even more, is that some experts suggest that fatality rates should not be measured by the number of deaths per 100,000 people but instead should be measured by the number of deaths per miles driven.

What The Statistics Show
With inconclusive explanations for why red states may have more auto accident deaths per capita than blue, it isn’t clear what to take away from the statistics exactly. However, it is clear that the states with the highest fatality rates need to work on reducing those rates, perhaps through tougher enforcement of safety laws or increased access to medical care.

Drivers, too, should take responsibility and drivers in states both red and blue need to exercise reasonable care when behind the wheel. If they don’t, they could cause an accident and be held legally liable for the consequences- and that is something no one wants, regardless of who you voted for as President.

If you or someone in your family has been injured or killed in a car accident, contact the Lee Law Offices, P.A. for a free and confidential consultation. Call 1-800-887-1965 to speak with an accident lawyer today.

Additional Resources:
Red state, blue state divide reflected in grim statistic: fatal traffic accidents, NBC News, November 20, 2012

North Carolina Traffic Safety: Signs, Congestion and Construction Safety, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyers Blog, November 6, 2012

State Does its Part to Prevent North Carolina Auto Accidents Over the Holidays, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyers Blog, November 22, 2012

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