Media outlets were quick during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the consequent lockdowns that defined the summer and fall of 2020 to note just how little traffic there was as a result. Simple logic would suggest that less traffic equals a lower likelihood of accidents and thus fewer injuries and fatalities. Sadly, this was not the case.

Nationwide, traffic fatalities rose 7.2% in 2020 to nearly 39,000. That number was the highest recorded since 2007. Qualifying this disturbing fact is a sticky wicket—common denominators behind traffic deaths such as impaired driving, failure to use a seat belt, and excessive speed were certainly contributing factors, but they alone do not account for a rise in deaths commensurate with a 430-million-mile drop in the number of miles people traveled across the course of the year. What can be qualified, however, is where fatal crashes took place.

Citing data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Stacker identified the counties in Kansas that had the most fatalities from motor vehicle crashes in 2020. The number of accident fatalities are ranked by the number of deaths per 100,000 people, with the raw number functioning as a tiebreaker. The analysis only looked at counties with at least five deaths during 2020. Additional data is included on pedestrian, bicyclist, and drunk-driving-related deaths. In counties where at least five fatalities happened on the same street or interstate, the road with the most deaths is also included.

#27. Johnson County, Kansas

– Motor vehicle crash fatalities: 3.5 per 100K people (#1,696 nationally, 21 deaths)
– 5 pedestrian deaths
– 0 bicyclist deaths
– 2 deaths involving drunk drivers
– No roads with at least five fatalities

#26. Butler County, Kansas

– Motor vehicle crash fatalities: 7.4 per 100K people (#1,534 nationally, 5 deaths)
– 0 pedestrian deaths
– 0 bicyclist deaths
– 1 death involving drunk drivers
– No roads with at least five fatalities

#25. Riley County, Kansas

– Motor vehicle crash fatalities: 9.6 per 100K people (#1,403 nationally, 7 deaths)
– 4 pedestrian deaths
– 0 bicyclist deaths
– 2 deaths involving drunk drivers
– No roads with at least five fatalities

#24. Shawnee County, Kansas

– Motor vehicle crash fatalities: 11.7 per 100K people (#1,268 nationally, 21 deaths)
– 3 pedestrian deaths
– 0 bicyclist deaths
– 0 deaths involving drunk drivers
– No roads with at least five fatalities

#23. Sedgwick County, Kansas

– Motor vehicle crash fatalities: 12.5 per 100K people (#1,207 nationally, 65 deaths)
– 6 pedestrian deaths
– 1 bicyclist death
– 9 deaths involving drunk drivers
– Road with most fatalities: SR-42 (6 fatalities)

#22. Cowley County, Kansas

– Motor vehicle crash fatalities: 14.4 per 100K people (#1,094 nationally, 5 deaths)
– 1 pedestrian death
– 0 bicyclist deaths
– 2 deaths involving drunk drivers
– No roads with at least five fatalities

#21. Saline County, Kansas

– Motor vehicle crash fatalities: 14.7 per 100K people (#1,073 nationally, 8 deaths)
– 1 pedestrian death
– 0 bicyclist deaths
– 2 deaths involving drunk drivers
– No roads with at least five fatalities

#20. Douglas County, Kansas

– Motor vehicle crash fatalities: 15.2 per 100K people (#1,026 nationally, 18 deaths)
– 2 pedestrian deaths
– 0 bicyclist deaths
– 5 deaths involving drunk drivers
– Road with most fatalities: US-40 (6 fatalities)

#19. Reno County, Kansas

– Motor vehicle crash fatalities: 16.1 per 100K people (#971 nationally, 10 deaths)
– 0 pedestrian deaths
– 0 bicyclist deaths
– 5 deaths involving drunk drivers
– No roads with at least five fatalities

#18. McPherson County, Kansas

– Motor vehicle crash fatalities: 16.6 per 100K people (#937 nationally, 5 deaths)
– 1 pedestrian death
– 0 bicyclist deaths
– 3 deaths involving drunk drivers
– No roads with at least five fatalities

#17. Miami County, Kansas

– Motor vehicle crash fatalities: 17.7 per 100K people (#881 nationally, 6 deaths)
– 0 pedestrian deaths
– 0 bicyclist deaths
– 1 death involving drunk drivers
– No roads with at least five fatalities

#16. Finney County, Kansas

– Motor vehicle crash fatalities: 18.3 per 100K people (#850 nationally, 7 deaths)
– 2 pedestrian deaths
– 0 bicyclist deaths
– 1 death involving drunk drivers
– No roads with at least five fatalities

#15. Leavenworth County, Kansas

– Motor vehicle crash fatalities: 18.4 per 100K people (#843 nationally, 15 deaths)
– 1 pedestrian death
– 0 bicyclist deaths
– 3 deaths involving drunk drivers
– No roads with at least five fatalities

#14. Pottawatomie County, Kansas

– Motor vehicle crash fatalities: 19.9 per 100K people (#758 nationally, 5 deaths)
– 0 pedestrian deaths
– 0 bicyclist deaths
– 3 deaths involving drunk drivers
– No roads with at least five fatalities

#13. Ford County, Kansas

– Motor vehicle crash fatalities: 20.3 per 100K people (#741 nationally, 7 deaths)
– 1 pedestrian death
– 0 bicyclist deaths
– 2 deaths involving drunk drivers
– No roads with at least five fatalities

#12. Montgomery County, Kansas

– Motor vehicle crash fatalities: 25.3 per 100K people (#571 nationally, 8 deaths)
– 1 pedestrian death
– 0 bicyclist deaths
– 1 death involving drunk drivers
– No roads with at least five fatalities

#11. Harvey County, Kansas

– Motor vehicle crash fatalities: 26.5 per 100K people (#523 nationally, 9 deaths)
– 1 pedestrian death
– 0 bicyclist deaths
– 1 death involving drunk drivers
– No roads with at least five fatalities

#10. Dickinson County, Kansas

– Motor vehicle crash fatalities: 26.9 per 100K people (#511 nationally, 5 deaths)
– 2 pedestrian deaths
– 0 bicyclist deaths
– 1 death involving drunk drivers
– No roads with at least five fatalities

#9. Franklin County, Kansas

– Motor vehicle crash fatalities: 27.0 per 100K people (#505 nationally, 7 deaths)
– 2 pedestrian deaths
– 0 bicyclist deaths
– 0 deaths involving drunk drivers
– No roads with at least five fatalities

#8. Jefferson County, Kansas

– Motor vehicle crash fatalities: 27.2 per 100K people (#499 nationally, 5 deaths)
– 0 pedestrian deaths
– 0 bicyclist deaths
– 1 death involving drunk drivers
– No roads with at least five fatalities

#7. Labette County, Kansas

– Motor vehicle crash fatalities: 29.7 per 100K people (#420 nationally, 6 deaths)
– 1 pedestrian death
– 0 bicyclist deaths
– 1 death involving drunk drivers
– No roads with at least five fatalities

#6. Neosho County, Kansas

– Motor vehicle crash fatalities: 37.7 per 100K people (#265 nationally, 6 deaths)
– 0 pedestrian deaths
– 0 bicyclist deaths
– 0 deaths involving drunk drivers
– No roads with at least five fatalities

#5. Sumner County, Kansas

– Motor vehicle crash fatalities: 39.8 per 100K people (#243 nationally, 9 deaths)
– 2 pedestrian deaths
– 0 bicyclist deaths
– 0 deaths involving drunk drivers
– No roads with at least five fatalities

#4. Cloud County, Kansas

– Motor vehicle crash fatalities: 55.3 per 100K people (#109 nationally, 5 deaths)
– 1 pedestrian death
– 0 bicyclist deaths
– 2 deaths involving drunk drivers
– No roads with at least five fatalities

#3. Wabaunsee County, Kansas

– Motor vehicle crash fatalities: 72.7 per 100K people (#53 nationally, 5 deaths)
– 0 pedestrian deaths
– 0 bicyclist deaths
– 5 deaths involving drunk drivers
– Road with most fatalities: I-70 (5 fatalities)

#2. Pratt County, Kansas

– Motor vehicle crash fatalities: 86.3 per 100K people (#36 nationally, 8 deaths)
– 1 pedestrian death
– 0 bicyclist deaths
– 1 death involving drunk drivers
– Road with most fatalities: US-54 (5 fatalities)

#1. Osborne County, Kansas

– Motor vehicle crash fatalities: 142.4 per 100K people (#10 nationally, 5 deaths)
– 0 pedestrian deaths
– 0 bicyclist deaths
– 2 deaths involving drunk drivers
– No roads with at least five fatalities