Even within states with generally low fatality rates, the apparent safety gap between rural and urban roads persists, writes Larry Copeland. He attributes the discrepancy to cities' lower speed limits, additional safety engineering features, and greater proximity to emergency medical facilities.
According to the data, the country's safest places to drive are the Washington D.C. and Massachusetts, while Montana, Wyoming, Louisiana and Mississippi are the most dangerous.
However, some critics argue for looking beyond statistics to assess how safe roads are, writes Copeland:
"Many traffic safety groups such as the Governors Highway Safety Association argue that such comparisons don't accurately reflect how safe a state's roads are. A better measure, they say, is whether states have enacted proven safety enhancements such as motorcycle helmet laws and primary seat belt laws, which allow police to stop motorists solely for being unbuckled."