While California isn’t the best state in terms of traffic safety, it didn’t do terrible on this year’s 24/7 Wall St. report. Using traffic data from 2016, researchers found that California has the 38th most dangerous streets in the nation.
A More In-Depth Look At California’s Fatality Rates
According to the news website’s findings, there were 9.2 traffic fatalities per 100,000 Californian drivers. That’s below the national average of 11.6 per 100,000 people.
In total, a little over 3,620 Californian drivers passed away in 2016. 42 percent of these deadly crashes were on rural roads.
The worst day of the year to travel in the Golden State remains Memorial Day. Researchers said there were almost 40 traffic fatalities in California on this holiday, which is the highest fatality count for any day of the year.
On a positive note, 24/7 Wall St.’s report found that seat belt use in California was close to 100 percent.
What Are The Worst States For Traffic Fatalities?
Analysts said Southern states performed the worst in their survey. Indeed, the states of Mississippi, Alabama, and South Carolina were found to have the worst traffic fatality records in the USA.
In top place, Mississippi had an average of 23.1 fatalities per 100,000 residents. Alabama took second place with a fatality rate of 21.3 and South Carolina came in third with a rate of 20.5. No other states on this list had fatality scores above 20.
Two Key Predictors Of Above Average Traffic Fatality Rates
Most importantly, researchers found a direct correlation between the number of rural roads in a state and a state’s traffic fatalities. States that tended to be more rural had higher traffic fatalities. Analysts argued that the reason for this connection is twofold. First, rural roads tend to have above average speed limits. Second, these roads often have many stationary objects (e.g. trees and telephone poles) drivers could ram into.
The second major factor that influenced a state’s safety score was how strictly they enforced their safety belt laws. Unsurprisingly, drivers and passengers were more likely to buckle up in states with primary enforcement seat belt laws. 24/7 Wall St. said about 250 crash victims in secondary enforcement states would’ve survived if their state had been primary enforcement in 2016.
To read 24/7 Wall St.’s full study, please click on this link.