SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — Utah has been named the nation’s safest state when it comes to the most dangerous rural roads in the contiguous U.S.
The study, done by Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Anidjar & Levine, analyzed the most recent 10 years of data on the number of annual miles driven on rural roads and divided it by the number of rural road accidents for each state to discover which state had the highest occurrences of rural crashes.
Nationally, the highest number of rural accidents (nearly one in three rural road accidents) happens on roads with a 55 mph speed limit, accounting for 26.9% of all rural road crashes, according to Anidjar & Levine. This statistic reportedly implies that while such roads might be engineered for higher speeds, they pose greater risks.
The study ranked North Carolina as no. 1 for the most dangerous rural roads, with 70.45 accidents for every billion miles driven. Of these, the law firm said 44.3% took place on roads with a 55 mph speed limit, a figure that’s 64.7% higher than the national average.
Comparatively, Utah ranked no. 48 — the safest on the list — at 23.38 rural crashes per billion miles driven.
The study reportedly gathered data from 2012-2021 from agencies including the North Carolina Department of Transportation, Fatality Analysis Reporting System, the U.S. Census Bureau, and the Federal Highway Administration.
Anidjar & Levine noted that the key metric, the rural road accident rate, evaluated the frequency of rural accidents per billion miles driven. They said this data was further categorized by speed limit to identify patterns related to specific speed zones.
“It’s important to note that any mention of ‘crashes’ in the report pertains to the number of vehicles involved rather than distinct accident events,” the release states.