Clearly, the traffic fatality rate in the United States is different every year. There are more people as the population continues to grow. A different specific number of people lose their lives each year, impacting the rate. You have to factor that in when looking at how many people die in car crashes for every 100,000 people in the country.
That said, you can use more general numbers to get a good sense of what the overall risk level looks like. For instance, roughly 38,000 people lose their lives annually in car accidents. Sometimes it’s close to 35,000 and other times it has topped 40,000. In a long-scale sense, it has almost always declined, but you have had some years where it has gone up. In any case, 38,000 gives you a nice rough estimate that generally applies.
Using that number, you find that about 12.4 people pass away for every 100,000 Americans. If you live in a city of 500,000 people, that means that the average amount of annual deaths will be about 62.
Of course, even this isn’t a perfect science. Due to their faster speed limits and numerous other factors, country roads have higher fatality rates than city streets. So a city of 500,000 could see less than 62 deaths and still see the average for the state get balanced out by deaths in rural areas. Likewise, the average above is a national average, so you may find that some states have vastly higher death rates than others, and they are balanced out by areas with lower rates.
That is to say, while this trend shows you the very real risks all drivers face, do not expect to apply that rate perfectly to all locations. What you do need to know, though, is what legal options you have if you lose a loved one.