WebMD Health News
Louise Chang, MD
Feb. 26, 2009 -- Driving may be more dangerous in the South than any other
place in the country, the CDC says.
In 2005, the latest year for which statistics are available, 45,520 deaths
in the U.S. were related to motor vehicles, according to the CDC.
The Northeast had the lowest average annual rate of motor vehicle-related
fatalities, 9.8 per 100,000 people in the period 1999 to 2005. The rate in the
South was almost twice that, at 19.5.
Age, gender, and race also played a factor in motor vehicle-related
fatalities, according to the Feb. 27 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly
The average annual death rate for young people was 26.8 per 100,000 for
people between ages 15 and 24; that’s 74% higher than the overall rate of
The average annual death rate for men was more than double that for women,
21.7 vs. 9.4 per 100,000 people. The rate for American Indians/Alaska Natives
was 27.2, nearly twice the 15.7 rate for whites and the 15.2 rate for
The CDC analysis says 46% of the motor vehicle-related deaths from 1999 to
2005 occurred in the South, where the average annual rate was 19.5 per 100,000
people, followed by 14.7 in the Midwest, 14.2 in the West, and 9.8 in the
Here are the states with the highest average annual death rates per
Here are the states with the lowest death rates per 100,000:
The CDC says "vigorous measures" are needed to reduce the death rate
to the national objective of 9.2 deaths per 100,000 in 2010.
The researchers say some of the variations are explained by the extent of
populations to road environments.
Reasons for the disproportionately high rate in the South are unclear, the
researchers say. But distances traveled in rural areas could be a factor, they
The CDC says states should evaluate methods to increase the use of seat
belts and child-safety restraints and also work on ways to reduce alcohol
consumption by drivers.
SOURCES:CDC.Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, Feb. 27, 2009, vol 58; no.
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