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How dangerous is your state?

By Jay MacDonald ·
Friday, July 6, 2012
Posted: 10 am ET

Do you live in a dangerous state?

The thought may never have crossed your mind. Most of us tend to associate danger with rough neighborhoods, treacherous traffic and icy mountain passes, not borders on a map.

But a new report, "Facts Hurt: A State-By-State Injury Prevention Policy Report," published by the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, attempts to change our shortsighted view of locality and mortality.

Injuries that result from accidents or violence are the third leading cause of death nationally and the No. 1 killer among the 1-to-44 age group. Each year, 50 million Americans are treated and 2.5 million hospitalized for injuries. Among children and teens, 9.2 million are treated in emergency rooms, and 12,000 die in accidents each year.

State safety laws play a key role in keeping us safe. They range from mandatory seat belts, motorcycle/bicycle helmets and child safety seats to statutes aimed at curbing drunk driving, prescription drug abuse, domestic violence, date assaults, school sports concussions, teen bullying and texting while driving. Collectively, they have an impact on health insurance, homeowners insurance and auto insurance rates.

The "Facts Hurt" partners, along with state safety officials, developed a set of 10 indicators to measure which states are doing the most to keep us safe. The results:

  • New York and California registered the highest score of 9 out of 10.
  • Maryland, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island and Washington scored 8 out of 10.
  • Nearly half the states (24) scored 5 out of 10 or lower.
  • Montana and Ohio scored the lowest at 2 out of 10.

Per capita, the western states of New Mexico, Montana, Alaska and Wyoming remain the most dangerous, while New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts and California rank as safest.

As for the uphill climb ahead to save more lives, the report found that:

  • 29 states do not require bicycle helmets for all children.
  • 17 states do not require child or booster seats to age 8.
  • 31 states do not require helmets for all motorcycle riders.
  • 34 states and Washington, D.C., do not require mandatory ignition interlocks for convicted drunk drivers.
  • 18 states do not have primary seat belt laws.
  • 44 states scored a "B" or lower on a teen dating violence law review by the Break the Cycle organization.
  • 13 states do not have strong youth sport concussion safety laws.

For more information, see the report at
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July 18, 2012 at 10:28 pm

The Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation are involved (i.e. Soros), liberal states score the best - yup, its the right wing nuts doin it...

July 18, 2012 at 7:44 pm

Funny, the insurance industry is a right-wing industry, with more contributions going to Republicans than Democrats in general, and almost 3 times as much going to Romney's campaign than Obama's. People need to realize this topic was posted under the category of insurance, and one of the ways insurance companies improve profitability is by reducing risks, and one means to doing that is passing regulations that prevent people from taking risks!!

So for all you suggesting this is a nonsense article with a left wing agenda to promote a nanny state, think again! Of course, those right wing-nuts would love for you to believe that! 😉

Warren Suter
July 18, 2012 at 6:30 pm

"New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts and California rank as safest."

I think there is a basic flaw to this survey: Do you want to live a long time in a place where most people would be miserable (see list above) or die early while living it up in a favorable climate with friendly people? Let's get our priorities straight. Did the study take regional cost of living into account?

Barry Gossett
July 18, 2012 at 4:48 pm

I'm a veitnam era vet, and I don't think the price of oil should be controlled by the stock market...In 1965 we had targets in Laos,Thiland,Cambodia as well as Nam..We bombed those targets 24/7 and back haome the price of a gal of gas jumped 4 cents a gal in four years..The US didn't win that War but gas was never an issue til Iran came into the picture in the seventies..Of course we were sabotaged by terrorists within the US but those were probably hired to start fires at refineries which they never rebuilt or reconstructed afterwards..The price of oil p/gal is always going to be controlled by the oil companies..just like the insurance companies,the drug companies,and the federal reserve..America is slowly crumbleling to these facts of life..

Rae Pentz
July 18, 2012 at 4:25 pm

I didn't notice anything about Pennsylvania ? Is it safe or not? What else didn't you print? Some information please.

Roger in Michigan
July 18, 2012 at 2:08 pm

The study had to be biased in one way or maybe many because California certainly is not one of the safest states at least not according to news reports. They count ER visits for accidents? No sane and affordable rules or regulations would have prevented me making a trip to the ER after I stuck the end of my thumb in a table saw while working out in my shop at 4:00 AM and they count these things in whether a state is safe or not.
Yes, there is actually a system that will sense and stop a saw blade *before* it cuts your body parts. Try and find such a thing..."Liability"

But things like helmets are more than a personal thing. It's true that only (usually) the rider gets hurt of killed, but either insurance or "the system" has to pay and that costs all of us. If the rider (bicycle or motorcycle) has a family and is the sole breadwinner they will have to be supported, possibly in a number of ways.

An Individual
July 18, 2012 at 12:55 pm

The article should just be titled "Huraay for the Nanny State!"

July 18, 2012 at 12:54 pm

This article should be retitled:

"The Top States to Move to for Government Nanny Lovers"

The "weenie-fication" of American continues with garbage "reports" like this.

July 18, 2012 at 12:30 pm

As a resident of the ultra-left MetroMinnesota, I say - three cheers for Shaun's succinct, truthful, spot-on comment.

July 18, 2012 at 12:23 pm

This article is complete garbage, written with a sensational headline to get people to read. The writer is basing on how safe a state is as determined on how many/what kind of laws they have? And not based on actual crime or accident statistics? Complete garbage. This article says CA and NY are safer than Montana and Wyoming? What planet is this writer living on? The crime statistics, both in per capita and raw numbers, tell the opposite story. I'm a life long resident of NY. It's OK here,has beautiful scenery and many wonderful people, but the laws are overbearing and oppressive. Upstate NY is rural, farmy, conservative and has more in common with the midwest area of the US, but the entire state is controlled by lawmakers from downstate (NYC area) where most of the residents live. The author of this article is quite obviously a left wing liberal who is just using his job to promote nanny-state freedom-oppressing liberal ideals. People with common sense know better