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Tennessee and Kentucky among states with highest motor vehicle death rates in country

Cropped Photo: Steven Vance / CC BY 2.0

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee is among 14 states with the highest total death rates or motor vehicle traffic injuries.

Highlighting the latest data nationwide in 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released the age-adjusted death rates for all states on Thursday.

Calculating the rate per 100,000 people, Tennessee had a rate of 15.8 per 100,000 with 1,049 motor vehicle traffic related deaths in 2016.

14 states had rates of 15.0 or greater, with Mississippi leading the way with 25.4 per 100,000 followed by Alabama (23.3) and South Carolina (20.9). The District of Columbia had the lowest rate in the country with a rate of 4.5 per 100,000.

In Tennessee, Shelby County reported the highest total of traffic deaths with 149. Davidson County reported 74 total traffic deaths in 2016. In terms of death rates per 100,000 people, Sevier County had the highest rate in the state with a rate of 27.9. However, the county only totaled 27 deaths and has a population of 89,889 so researchers cautioned the rate may be misleading.

Nationally, the motor vehicle traffic death rate was 11.7 per 100,000 in 2016.

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