According to figures from the U.S. government, 35,092 people died in car-related accidents in the U.S. in 2015 — a 7.2 percent increase in traffic deaths from 2014.
Why the recent uptick in traffic fatalities? The National Safety Council suggests that declining gas prices have resulted in people driving longer distances. The organization also notes that today's drivers are more distracted than ever, and are more likely to use social media behind the wheel.
Regardless, while driving fatalities have increased nationwide, some states are more dangerous than others. Using data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, data analysts used the total number of car-related fatalities for each state from 2000 to 2015 to rank the deadliest states for car accidents. They then found the average number of fatalities each year per 100,000 people. States are ranked by the average fatalities per year, from least to most dangerous. In the event of a tie, states are listed in ascending order by the total number of fatalities.
Notably, the states that dominate the top of this list tend to be more rural, while states with big urban cores like New York, New Jersey and California rank toward the bottom. This is likely because rural residents face longer commutes and driving distances than their urban counterparts. Urban residents are also more likely to walk, bike or use public transportation.
*Note: Not all of the images in the story depict crashes from each state and the images do not specifically portray fatal car accidents.