Winter is coming: Fatal freeway accidents in CA among highest proportion nationwide

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Winter is coming. Fatal freeway accidents in California are among highest proportion nationwide

  • Alaska takes the top spot, followed by Wyoming and California
  • Analysis of Government data reveals the deadliest states for driving on the freeway
  • On average, 16.04% of fatal accidents happen on freeways nationwide

With winter slowly rolling in and ice and snow becoming more and more common, car accidents are on the rise. A new study has revealed the states that have the highest proportion of fatal freeway accidents, with some shocking statistics.

The study, by personal injury lawyer Scott Vicknair, looked at data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) from 2017 – 2021 to determine which states have the largest percentage of driver fatalities occurring on freeways.

California ranks in third place, with fatal freeway accidents accounting for over a quarter (25.7%) of all fatal accidents within the state—almost 10% higher than the national average of 16.04%. California saw the most fatal traffic accidents of all states nationwide, with a staggering 18,137 occurring from 2017 to 2021

Alaska takes first place on the list, with fatal freeway crashes accounting for 30.82% of all fatal traffic accidents statewide—almost double that of the national average of 16.04%. The data showed that 98 out of a total of 318 fatal road accidents occurred on Alaskan freeways.

Second place goes to Wyoming, where fatal freeway accidents account for 26.25% of all fatal road accidents within the state—over 10% higher than the national average of 16.04%. A total of 541 fatal accidents occurred within Wyoming, with 142 of those occurring on freeways.

Close behind in fourth place is Rhode Island. The state saw the smallest number of fatal road accidents, 313 in total. Of those 313 fatal accidents, 25.56% occurred on freeways. Rhode Island is similar to California in that fatal freeway accidents are almost 10% more than the national average of 16.04%..

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Connecticut ranks in fifth place, with 24.74% of all fatal road accidents occurring on freeways. Connecticut saw a total of 1,338 fatal road accidents over the time period, with 331 of those occurring on a highway.

Texas comes in sixth place, with 21.85% of all fatal road accidents occurring on freeways. The state has the second-highest number of total fatal road accidents of all states behind California, at 17,549, approximately 3,434 of those occurred on freeways.

The remainder of the top ten features Missouri in seventh place, where fatal freeway accidents accounted for 21.73% of all fatal road accidents within the state.

New Jersey takes the eighth spot on the list, with 21.14% of all fatal road accidents occurring on freeways.

In ninth place is Massachusetts, where 20.61% of all fatal road accidents occurred on freeways.

Rounding out the list in tenth place is New Mexico, with 20.4% of all fatal road accidents occurring on freeways.

Interestingly, Maine proved to be the state with the safest freeways nationwide, with only 57 (7.93%) out of a total of 719 fatal road accidents occurring on freeways.

On average, roughly 16.04% of all fatal road accidents occurred on freeways nationwide—just over one in six total fatal accidents.

Rank State Freeway Fatal Accidents Total Fatal Accidents Freeway Fatal Crash %
1 Alaska 98 318 30.82%
2 Wyoming 142 541 26.25%
3 California 4,661 18,137 25.70%
4 Rhode Island 80 313 25.56%
5 Connecticut 331 1,338 24.74%
6 Texas 3,834 17,549 21.85%
7 Missouri 951 4,377 21.73%
8 New Jersey 604 2,857 21.14%
9 Massachusetts 354 1,718 20.61%
10 New Mexico 378 1,853 20.40%


Personal injury lawyer Scott Vicknair commented on the findings, saying:

“The findings highlight varying degrees of risk associated with freeway travel in different regions, shedding light on the need for comprehensive safety measures and heightened awareness campaigns. It underscores the importance of continued efforts to enhance road infrastructure and promote responsible driving behavior to reduce fatal accidents on freeways nationwide.”


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