City Roads Are Safest Highest crash fatalities occur in rural areas, says study By Nick McMaster, Newser Staff Posted Jan 25, 2011 3:52 PM CST 4 comments Comments Traffic makes its way along East Broadway during a snowstorm, Friday, Jan. 7, 2011 in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer) (Newser) – Motorists are much more likely to die in a crash in a rural area than in an urban one, USA Today reports. That generalization is reflected in the latest federal data on traffic fatalities, which show that the lowest fatality rates occur in Washington, DC, and Massachusetts, while the highest are in Montana, Wyoming, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Even in states with low overall rates, rural areas had higher death rates than urban areas. "An urban state in the Northeast is going to have a much lower fatality rate than a rural Western state with a lot of high-speed, two-lane rural roads, where serious crashes are more likely to happen," says a rep for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Crashes in urban areas are also more likely to be reached quickly by medical personnel, decreasing the chance of death even when a serious crash has occurred.