Is Alaska the Safest State to Drive In?
Alaska is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful states in America, but is it also one of the safest to drive in? The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently released their highway fatality figures for 2013, and the data seems to indicate that Alaska is an exceptionally safe driving state. According to the numbers, Alaska had the fewest auto accident fatalities (51) in 2013, despite being the largest state in the country.
At first glance, it’s tempting to attribute this fact to Alaska’s massive size and relatively small population. There aren’t many cities in Alaska, and we also have only a few major highways, which means that heavily congested traffic is rare compared to other states. And while one would assume that the harsh weather would influence the number of auto fatalities, it’s likely that we have become more adept at driving in hazardous conditions and are probably more cautious about traveling when severe weather does hit.
Furthermore, given that our state experiences more hours of darkness than any other state, it seems strange that there aren’t more instances of accidents involving pedestrians. There were only six fatalities stemming from accidents involving motor vehicles and bicycles in 2013 and only one fatality as a result of a car striking a pedestrian. Again, there might be a social component at work here, as we are likely more aware of the potential danger of walking or riding a bike after the sun sets than drivers in other states and take extra precautions as a result.
Despite these potential social or environmental factors, the statistics paint Alaska in a good light. We had one of the lowest fatality rates per 100,000 state residents in the country—only Massachusetts (4.9), New York (6.1), New Jersey (6.1), Rhode Island (6.2), and Washington (6.3) had lower rates than Alaska (6.9). However, Alaskans also drove far fewer miles on average (4,593) than the next closest motorists (Vermont 7,141) in 2013. These figures seem to indicate that even though we have fewer motorists driving fewer miles in harsher conditions throughout a massive area, we are still safer than drivers in other states.
Even though the numbers point toward Alaskans as being some of the safest drivers in the United States, avoidable wrecks accidents do still happen, everyday in Alaska. The fact remains that even though our roads are covered in ice and snow for a good portion of the year, requiring our great care and patience while operating a dangerous piece of equipment on the roads, some drivers are not so careful as we would hope they were. If you or a loved one has been involved in a vehicle collision, please contact the Law Office of William D. Cook. This law practice is devoted to helping people who are victims of an injury to their person in a collision, and we have a wealth of experience in litigating auto accident cases. Please give us a call today at (907) 694-2000 for a free consultation and to learn more about how we can help you receive the recovery you deserve.
Highway Loss Data Institute. (2014). Fatality Facts. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Retrieved from http://www.iihs.org/iihs/topics/t/general-statistics/fatalityfacts/state-by-state-overview