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Top 10 Safest and Most Dangerous Cities to Drive In

Car Crashes Are Leading Cause of Death Among U.S. Teens and Young Adults

By Denise Mann
WebMD Health News

Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

July 19, 2012 -- The most dangerous city for driving in the U.S. is Orlando, Fla., according to a new government report.

Although rates have declined in recent years, car crashes still are a leading cause of death in the U.S. In 2009, 34,485 people died in car crashes in the U.S., and 22% of them were aged 15 to 24. The new findings appear in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report(MMWR).

Researchers compared rates of motor vehicle crash deaths across cities and the 50 most densely populated metropolitan areas in the U.S. The overall rate of car crash deaths in the U.S. was 11.1 per 100,000 residents, ranging from just less than four to Orlando's high of 19.4. Among individuals aged 15 to 24, this rate in the top 50 metropolitan areas was 13.0 per 100,000 and ranged from a low of 7.3 to a high of 25.8.

10 Most Unsafe Cities to Drive In

According to the new findings, the 10 most unsafe cities for driving in the U.S. are:

  1. Orlando, Fla.
  2. Memphis, Tenn.
  3. Glendale, Tenn.
  4. Miami, Fla.
  5. Las Vegas
  6. Birmingham, Ala.
  7. Sacramento, Calif.
  8. Tampa, Fla.
  9. San Antonio, Texas
  10. Jacksonville, Fla.

10 Safest Cities to Drive In

And the 10 safest cities for driving in the U.S. are (in alphabetical order since there were no significant differences between them):

  • Boston
  • Buffalo, N.Y.
  • Cleveland
  • Hartford, Conn.
  • Newark, N.J.
  • Plano, Texas
  • Providence, R.I.
  • Salt Lake City
  • Santa Ana, Calif.
  • St. Paul, Minn.

Teens Bear the Brunt of Car Crashes

Car crashes are the No. 1 cause of death among teens and young adults aged 15 to 24, but some communities are implementing programs to try and lower this risk.

"Proven population-based intervention such as strong graduated-driver licensing and alcohol-impaired driving prevention polices offer the potential to reduce more vehicle crash deaths among teens and young adults," conclude researchers led by the CDC's Scott Kegler, PhD.

Graduated-driver licensing limits the type of driving that teens can do on their own initially. Sobriety check points and ignition interlock programs for drivers who have been convicted of drunk driving are other ways to curb alcohol-related crashes. Young drivers are disproportionately involved in alcohol-related crashes.

SOURCE: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, July 20, 2012.

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