Steer away from accidents.
Not all cities are created equal when it comes to car crashes. A recent study conducted by Dismuke Law found that Baton Rouge, Louisiana, has the highest fatality rate in automobile crashes in the country when compared to the city’s population.
Between the years 2017 and 2021, 284 fatal crashes were logged in Baton Rouge. Compared with the city’s population it yields an index of 25.49 fatal crashes per 100,000 inhabitants. Memphis, Tennessee, is close behind Baton Rouge with an index of 25.08 fatal crashes per 100,000 inhabitants. Macon-Bibb County, Georgia, ranks third, with a rate of 22.12 fatal crashes.
Other cities in the top 10 include St. Louis, Missouri; Ft. Lauderdale, Florida; Birmingham, Alabama; Knoxville, Tennessee; Detroit, Michigan; Albuquerque, New Mexico; and San Bernadino, California.
The report also ranked the cities with the lowest rates of fatal crashes compared to population. Cary, North Carolina tops out that list, with just 1.52 fatal crashes per 100,00 inhabitants. Other cities with low rates included Glendale, California; Oxnard, California; Frisco, Texas; New York City; Henderson, Nevada; Alexandria, Virginia; Elk Grove, California; and Boston.
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The American Automobile Association (AAA) notes that fatal car crashes are one of the leading causes of death for teens, and many AAA clubs offer teen driver safety courses.
A recent survey on American driving habits indicates American motorists drove slightly more often in 2022 than they did in the previous year, but the differences weren’t significant, and that a whopping 94.5% of U.S. residents aged 16 and older drove at least occasionally.
It’s worth noting that many of the top cities for fatal accidents are large and medium-sized metropolitan areas on major interstate corridors, which may have contributed to the increase in fatal accidents. Interstate corridors are often busy with long-distance travelers, so the number of fatal car crashes may have more to do with traffic throughput—including non-resident drivers—than with the motoring habits of the local population.
It’s also worth noting that the survey only includes fatal accidents, not the total number of reported accidents. Baton Rouge, for example, may not necessarily be more prone to auto accidents in general—it just has the highest proportion of fatal accidents relative to its population.
Another AAA study found that for the same 2017-2021 period, nearly 4 million children aged 10 and younger were involved in crashes while riding in a vehicle, resulting in over half a million injuries and just under 2,800 fatalities. AAA notes that half the children either injured or killed in automobile crashes were wearing a seatbelt prematurely or had no restraint. Regulations on child safety seat use vary by state, but AAA explains that most booster seats can accommodate children up to a height of 57 inches.
Travelers, whether flying to a city and renting a car, or traveling by automobile should always check state and local driving regulations, which can vary. When renting an unfamiliar car, drivers should be even more vigilant, and check their own auto insurance policy to ensure coverage, or purchase liability or damage waivers from their rental car company.