CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – Memorial Day weekend is approaching, and for many people, that means traveling. But West Virginians should be careful when driving over this weekend, though. According to a study by insurance company Jerry, West Virginia has more fatal car crashes over Memorial Day than any other state.
The study used data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration which determined that 3.4 per 100,000 West Virginians die every Memorial Day holiday, based on accidents from 2011 to 2020. With a population of more than 1.8 million people, an average of 60 West Virginians die from car accidents on Memorial Day each year.
The next highest state was Louisianna at 2.34 deaths; that means West Virginia has 43% more crash fatalities over Memorial Day than any other state.
Nationwide, deaths from crashes increase by about 12% over the holiday weekend. Most of the accidents are single-car crashes that take place on non-highway roads between 6 p.m. and 3 a.m. One major factor in this rise in crashes is holiday drinking. According to Jerry, almost 40% of fatal accidents over Memorial Day involved at least one person who had been drinking.
Traffic could also be a concern this weekend. According to AAA, bookings are up 122% from last year, and more than half of West Virginians are planning to take a substantial trip this summer.
Other places with high Memorial Day death tolls are Louisianna, South Dakota and Mississippi. Housten, Texas, is the city with the most fatal accidents by far, averaging almost 40 deaths per year in the city alone.
For the full ranking and methodology, click here.