How do you calculate per 1,000? And how do you compensate for additional variables?

For context, this is for my own learning. I am not in school.

According to the IIHS, in 2020:

Vermont had 642,495 people and 58 fatal car crashes.

Virginia had 8,632,044 people and 796 fatal car crashes.

We will assume that Vermont had 100,000 cars and Virginia had 1,000,000.

We will also assume that Vermont had 250,000 licensed drivers, while Virginia was at 2,500,000.

How would you calculate the number of fatal car crashes per 1000 people?


Say that one group claims more cars causes increases in fatal car crashes, while the other group claims that more licensed drivers is the problem. 

What would be the right way to adjust the numbers to see who is correct? Calculate per 1,000 cars and then for licensed drivers? Or calculate per 1,000 fatal car crashes and then adjust it afterwards?

This problem has been bothering my brain for a few weeks now. I hope you can help me solve it.


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