Arkansas, Oklahoma Graded ‘F’ for Overall Public Safety

July 10, 2017

No state does enough to protect its residents from preventable deaths and injuries — commonly known as “accidents” — on the road, in homes and communities, and at work, but two South Central states are among those with the worst grades for safety, according to the National Safety Council.

None of the 50 states or Washington, D.C., earned an “A” for overall safety on the NSC’s latest report, The State of Safety, which assesses each state on how well it is protecting citizens from risk.

Arkansas and Oklahoma scored an “F” for overall safety; Texas scored a “D,” and Louisiana received a “C” overall grade.

Seven states — Maryland, Illinois, Maine, Oregon, Connecticut, California and Washington — and Washington, D.C., received a “B” overall. Eleven rated an “F” — Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Arizona, South Carolina, South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Mississippi, Idaho and Missouri.

According to the report, fatalities from poisonings — including drug overdoses — motor vehicle crashes, falls, drowning, choking and fires have increased 7 percent since 2014, claiming 146,571 lives annually.

The report says that in addition to the human costs, preventable injuries cost society more than $850 billion each year.

States overall do the worst in safety in homes and communities, where nearly three-quarters of all preventable deaths and injuries occur. They do the best in workplace safety, according to the report.

Grades are based on states’ laws, policies and regulations around issues that lead to the most preventable deaths and injuries.

States also are graded on: road safety (alcohol impaired driving, child passenger safety, distracted driving, older drivers, seat belts, speeding, teen drivers, pedestrian safety and helmets for bike and motorcycle helmets); home and community safety (drownings, firearms, home fires, older adult falls, poisonings and youth sports concussions) and workplace safety (safety and health prevention programs and their enforcement, maximum workers’ compensation benefits, and worker health and well-being including wellness and drug-free workplace laws.

For workers’ comp, the report looked at the maximum length of benefits in weeks for temporary disability and permanent disability, as well as the maximum weekly benefit for permanent disability.

States graded the best in workers’ comp are Washington, Nevada, Alaska, Colorado, Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Ohio, Virginia, New York, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont and New Hampshire, and the District of Columbia. States rated the worst are California, Utah, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Michigan, Indiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, West Virginia, South Carolina and Florida.