The Safest Car Brands in Each U.S. State

Introductory image for the most and least safe car brands.

Car safety is a top priority for many drivers, and with good reason. Choosing a car that prioritizes safety features can provide peace of mind and potentially save lives in the event of an accident. But with so many car brands and models on the market, it can be difficult to know which ones are the safest.

In this data study, we explore the most and least safe car brands in every U.S. state based on over a decade’s worth of fatal crash data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Read on to see what we found.

The Most & Least Safe Car Brands

A radial chart showing the most & least safe car brands.


Car safety is a crucial consideration for many drivers, which is why we crunched the numbers for fatal car crashes from 2011 to 2020, per 1,000 drivers. According to the data, Audi is the top safest car brand, with only 0.54 fatal crashes per 1,000 drivers over the decade. This title is well-earned, as Audi has made significant investments in safety technology research and development, including developing new safety systems that use sensors and cameras to detect and prevent accidents.

Subaru and Mercedes-Benz also ranked highly, with 0.55 and 0.75 fatal crashes per 1,000 drivers, respectively. This goes along with Subaru’s six recent IIHS top-pick safety awards. Mercedes-Benz has a reputation for luxury, but their vehicles are also known for their safety features, including advanced driver assistance systems and collision prevention technology.

On the other end of the spectrum, Dodge is the least safe car brand, with 4.03 fatal crashes per 1,000 drivers over the decade. Mitsubishi and Buick followed closely behind, with 2.78 and 2.71 fatal crashes per 1,000 drivers, respectively.

It is important to note that there are many different factors to consider when evaluating the safety of a car brand, such as the specific model and year of the vehicle. Advancements in safety technology and design have led to significant improvements in car safety across all brands in recent years. Nonetheless, it is important for consumers to do their research and prioritize safety when selecting a vehicle.

The Safest Car Brands in Every State


When diced down locally, Subaru continues to be a stand-out car brand, with the fewest fatal crashes in 17 U.S. states. Given the national statistics, it should come as no surprise that Subaru, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz are the top three car brands that appear repeatedly in the first, second, and third rankings of the safest cars.

However, the safety of certain car brands can vary by state due to factors such as climate, road conditions, and driving behaviors. For instance, Volvos were determined to be the safest brand in Nevada and North Dakota, while Hyundais have the fewest fatal crashes in Oregon.

Ultimately nine brands claimed the title as the safest car brand in at least one U.S. state, meaning that there are plenty of great options for drivers in the market for new wheels.

The Least Safe Car Brands in Every State


Next, we investigated the most dangerous car brands in every state using the same data points. From our findings, Dodge has the most fatal crashes of any other car brand in most (64%) U.S. states.

Other brands worth noting include Buick and GMC. Buick appears on the top three list of brands with the most fatal crashes in 23 of the 50 U.S. states. Similarly, GMC is in the top three for 10 U.S. states.

Hawaii is the only state with a high volume of Toyota crashes, while Mississippi has bad luck with Lincolns. Again, these outliers indicate that there are many external factors affecting the safety of the car beyond the brand itself.

Looking back at the brands with the fewest fatal crashes, just two U.S. states—Vermont and Alaska—have a high number of Subaru crashes. In addition, Mercedes-Benz is deemed an unsafe car from this perspective in zero states.

Closing Thoughts

Ultimately these findings can help inform consumers when making car-buying decisions and encourage automakers to continue prioritizing safety in their vehicles. Overall, safety remains a crucial factor to consider when selecting a car, and these insights provide valuable information for anyone in the market for a new vehicle.

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To determine the most and least safe car brands in every state, we analyzed the top three car brands that reported the most fatal car crashes over a decade (2011-2020) within each state according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. We used Car Sales Base market share information (average by brand since 2010) to estimate the number of cars by brand within each state and overall in the U.S. With these numbers, we were able to fully delve into an accurate comparison and analysis of the top 25 most popular car brands in the U.S.