## Auto Accident Deaths and Political PartiesL. David Roper(E-mail: roperld@vt.edu)

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The auto accident death rate (number of deaths per billion miles driven) varies greatly among the states in the United States. (See table at end for 1999 rates.)

An interesting question to ask is: Is there any correlation between the auto accident death rate and the strength of the two political parties in the states?

I compared different state's auto-accident-death-rate (ADR) data for 1999 with the results of the 1996 presidential election for each state. (See table at end for votes in the 1996 election.) A correlation calculation yielded the following:

 Correlation Rate Democrat vote -0.512 Republican vote +0.602

That is, the Democratic votes for the states had a 51% negative correlation with increasing ADR and the Republican votes had a 60% positive correlation. States with high auto accident death rate vote much more Republican than Democratic and vice versa.

 This is a plot of the auto accident death rate (ADR) sorted by rank of the states compared to the Democratic votes and the Republican votes. (See table at end for the data.) Also shown are linear fits to the two votes. This shows visually the positive correlation of ADR with the Republican vote and the negative correlation of ADR with the Democratic vote. Note that the three highest ADR states are definitely Republican and the seven lowest ADR states are definitely Democratic. Also, all but one of the lowest twenty states are definitely Democratic.

What can one conclude from these results? Whatever factors cause the large disparity for auto accident death rates between the various states also cause those states to tend to vote Republican. I believe that the main factors are:

• Capitalism rules: Every person looks after his own welfare, including his danger on the roads.
• Minimum government: Government is to stay out of the lives of people, including regulating their driving.
• Low taxes: Keep the taxes as low as possible, leaving little to care for the infrastructure, including roads.

My Republican native state, Oklahoma (rate=17.4), ranked 34 of 50 and my Republican adopted state, Virginia (rate=11.9), ranked 8 of 50 for increasing auto accident death rate in 1999.

 U.S. auto accident deaths in 1999 State Deaths Miles Driven Deaths/Miles Democrat Republican Rank Massachusetts 414 51,820 8.0 61.5% 28.1% 1 Connecticut 301 29,926 10.1 52.8% 34.7% 2 Rhode Island 88 8,283 10.6 59.7% 26.8% 3 New Jersey 727 65,540 11.1 53.7% 35.9% 4 Delaware 100 8,542 11.7 51.8% 36.6% 5 New Hampshire 141 11,894 11.9 49.6% 39.6% 6 California 3,559 300,066 11.9 51.1% 38.2% 7 Virginia 877 73,904 11.9 45.1% 47.1% 8 Oregon 414 34,680 11.9 47.2% 39.1% 9 Maryland 590 49,126 12.0 54.3% 38.3% 10 Washington 634 52,714 12.0 49.8% 37.3% 11 Hawaii 98 8,116 12.1 56.9% 31.6% 12 Minnesota 625 51,410 12.2 51.1% 35.0% 13 New York 1,548 126,491 12.2 58.3% 30.0% 14 Maine 181 14,143 12.8 51.6% 30.8% 15 Wisconsin 745 56,960 13.1 48.8% 38.5% 16 Vermont 90 6,867 13.1 53.4% 31.1% 17 Ohio 1,430 105,487 13.6 47.4% 41.0% 18 Illinois 1,456 102,394 14.2 54.3% 36.8% 19 Michigan 1,382 95,644 14.4 51.7% 38.5% 20 Indiana 1,013 70,041 14.5 41.6% 47.1% 21 Pennsylvania 1,549 102,014 15.2 49.2% 40.0% 22 Georgia 1,508 98,859 15.3 45.8% 47.0% 23 Colorado 626 40,732 15.4 44.4% 45.8% 24 Utah 360 22,044 16.3 33.3% 54.4% 25 Nebraska 295 18,011 16.4 35.0% 53.7% 26 North Dakota 119 7,262 16.4 40.1% 46.9% 27 Missouri 1,094 66,735 16.4 47.5% 41.2% 28 Texas 3,518 210,874 16.7 43.8% 48.8% 29 Alaska 76 4,545 16.7 33.3% 50.8% 30 Iowa 490 29,138 16.8 50.3% 39.9% 31 Kentucky 814 47,816 17.0 45.8% 44.9% 32 North Carolina 1,505 87,759 17.1 44.0% 48.7% 33 Oklahoma 739 42,569 17.4 40.4% 48.3% 34 South Dakota 150 8,244 18.2 43.0% 46.5% 35 Kansas 537 27,699 19.4 36.1% 54.3% 36 Tennessee 1,285 64,755 19.8 48.0% 45.6% 37 Idaho 278 13,976 19.9 33.6% 52.2% 38 Nevada 350 17,391 20.1 43.9% 42.9% 39 Alabama 1,138 56,165 20.3 43.2% 50.1% 40 Florida 2,918 141,903 20.6 48.0% 42.3% 41 New Mexico 460 22,362 20.6 49.2% 41.9% 42 Arkansas 604 29,247 20.7 53.7% 36.8% 43 West Virginia 395 19,033 20.8 51.5% 36.8% 44 Arizona 1,024 46,829 21.9 46.5% 44.3% 45 Montana 220 9,835 22.4 41.3% 44.1% 46 Louisiana 924 41,205 22.4 52.0% 39.9% 47 South Carolina 1,065 44,146 24.1 44.0% 49.8% 48 Wyoming 189 7,797 24.2 36.8% 49.8% 49 Mississippi 927 34,880 26.6 44.1% 49.2% 50