These are the cities with the highest rate of traffic fatalities

March 11, 2023
6 mins read
These are the cities with the highest rate of traffic fatalities

American roads haven’t been this deadly since 2007. And the situation isn’t getting any better; in fact, it may be getting worse. Across the U.S., nearly 39,000 people died in traffic crashes in 2020, amounting to about 11.78 deaths per 100,000 residents. Two in three deaths were vehicle occupants, while nearly 1 in 5 were pedestrians or cyclists.

Stacker used Department of Transportation data to rank the 50 cities with the highest motor vehicle crash fatality rates in 2020β€”the most recent data availableβ€”and broke ties by the total number of fatalities. Only cities with a population of at least 150,000 were considered.

When new data is released, it could show that roadways became even deadlier in 2021 and stayed similarly deadly in 2022.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 2021 roadway fatalities grew by 10.5% from 2020, marking a 16-year high and the largest year-over-year increase since the agency began capturing data. Crashes involving more than one vehicle and those that occur on city roads as opposed to rural ones grew the most, according to those estimates. The projection also points to an increase in deaths on roadways during the day and for those who are older than 65.

The latest estimates reflect a public health crisis that officials at the traffic safety agency have called β€œurgent and preventable.” The biggest contributing factor to fatal car wrecks is the speed of the vehicle. In 2020, NHTSA recorded more than 11,000 deaths as a result of speeding.

Surveys also reveal that drivers admit they have increasingly taken part in risky driving behaviors in recent years. According to a AAA survey of drivers in 2021, 12% more drivers said they drove significantly faster than the speed limit, and roughly 24% more drivers admitted to driving under the influence compared with the year prior. The association condemned the growth in risky driving behaviors as β€œdisturbing.”

Psychologists have also pointed to stress associated with the pandemic as a potential factor in the increase in traffic fatalities.

Many of the cities that rank among the most deadly according to 2020 data are located in the southern U.S. Read on to see where your city ranks on this list.

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SKT Studio // Shutterstock

#50. Oklahoma City

– Motor vehicle crash fatalities: 12.23 per 100,000 residents (81 total)
– Pedestrian fatalities from vehicle crashes: 3.77 per 100,000 residents (25 total)Car crashed into parked car on neighborhood street.

William A. Morgan // Shutterstock

#49. Salt Lake City

– Motor vehicle crash fatalities: 12.25 per 100,000 residents (25 total)
– Pedestrian fatalities from vehicle crashes: 1.96 per 100,000 residents (4 total)Car crash accident on street.

Dmitry Kalinovsky // Shutterstock

#48. Wichita, Kansas

– Motor vehicle crash fatalities: 12.25 per 100,000 residents (48 total)
– Pedestrian fatalities from vehicle crashes: 1.28 per 100,000 residents (5 total)Vehicle lying on its roof in the middle of the road.

Gorodenkoff // Shutterstock

#47. Newport News, Virginia

– Motor vehicle crash fatalities: 12.29 per 100,000 residents (22 total)
– Pedestrian fatalities from vehicle crashes: 1.68 per 100,000 residents (3 total)Two cars crashed into each other.

Kwangmoozaa // Shutterstock

#46. St. Petersburg, Florida

– Motor vehicle crash fatalities: 12.70 per 100,000 residents (34 total)
– Pedestrian fatalities from vehicle crashes: 2.24 per 100,000 residents (6 total)

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Godlikeart // Shutterstock

#45. Miami

– Motor vehicle crash fatalities: 12.72 per 100,000 residents (60 total)
– Pedestrian fatalities from vehicle crashes: 4.45 per 100,000 residents (21 total)Broken front of a car after a collision.

Dmitry Kalinovsky // Shutterstock

#44. Montgomery, Alabama

– Motor vehicle crash fatalities: 12.74 per 100,000 residents (25 total)
– Pedestrian fatalities from vehicle crashes: 4.08 per 100,000 residents (8 total)A white and black car pictured after a crash.

Vereshchagin Dmitry // Shutterstock

#43. Huntsville, Alabama

– Motor vehicle crash fatalities: 12.81 per 100,000 residents (26 total)
– Pedestrian fatalities from vehicle crashes: 3.94 per 100,000 residents (8 total)Scene of a car crash with paramedics.

Gorodenkoff // Shutterstock

#42. Toledo, Ohio

– Motor vehicle crash fatalities: 12.89 per 100,000 residents (35 total)
– Pedestrian fatalities from vehicle crashes: 2.21 per 100,000 residents (6 total)Destroyed front of a car after a crash.

Krummerchen // Shutterstock

#41. New Orleans

– Motor vehicle crash fatalities: 13.09 per 100,000 residents (51 total)
– Pedestrian fatalities from vehicle crashes: 2.57 per 100,000 residents (10 total)

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Ground Picture // Shutterstock

#40. Phoenix

– Motor vehicle crash fatalities: 13.11 per 100,000 residents (224 total)
– Pedestrian fatalities from vehicle crashes: 4.27 per 100,000 residents (73 total)Close-up shot of the trunk of a car lying upside down after a crash on a motorway.

Juice Flair // Shutterstock

#39. Bakersfield, California

– Motor vehicle crash fatalities: 13.22 per 100,000 residents (51 total)
– Pedestrian fatalities from vehicle crashes: 3.63 per 100,000 residents (14 total)Photo of a car, helmet and motorcycle on road.

osobystist // Shutterstock

#38. Fresno, California

– Motor vehicle crash fatalities: 13.39 per 100,000 residents (71 total)
– Pedestrian fatalities from vehicle crashes: 5.47 per 100,000 residents (29 total)Fatal automobile accident on road, destroyed in a crash.

pictoplay // Shutterstock

#37. Augusta-Richmond County consolidated government, Georgia

– Motor vehicle crash fatalities: 13.67 per 100,000 residents (27 total)
– Pedestrian fatalities from vehicle crashes: 5.06 per 100,000 residents (10 total)Emergency crew removing a victim from a car accident.

Phase4Studios // Shutterstock

#36. Tulsa, Oklahoma

– Motor vehicle crash fatalities: 14.63 per 100,000 residents (59 total)
– Pedestrian fatalities from vehicle crashes: 3.97 per 100,000 residents (16 total)

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Ground Picture // Shutterstock

#35. Fayetteville, North Carolina

– Motor vehicle crash fatalities: 14.64 per 100,000 residents (31 total)
– Pedestrian fatalities from vehicle crashes: 6.14 per 100,000 residents (13 total)Police car with a flasher in front of damaged truck.

Dmitry Kalinovsky // Shutterstock

#34. Milwaukee

– Motor vehicle crash fatalities: 14.77 per 100,000 residents (87 total)
– Pedestrian fatalities from vehicle crashes: 2.55 per 100,000 residents (15 total)Blurred photo of a motorcyle accident scene.

Zoran Ras // Shutterstock

#33. Akron, Ohio

– Motor vehicle crash fatalities: 14.80 per 100,000 residents (29 total)
– Pedestrian fatalities from vehicle crashes: 2.04 per 100,000 residents (4 total)Inside of a car with shattered glass.

Nutnaree Saingwongwattana// Shutterstock

#32. Hollywood, Florida

– Motor vehicle crash fatalities: 14.88 per 100,000 residents (23 total)
– Pedestrian fatalities from vehicle crashes: 2.59 per 100,000 residents (4 total)Artificial white roses flowers on the site of a car crash.

rdjan Randjelovic // Shutterstock

#31. Mobile, Alabama

– Motor vehicle crash fatalities: 14.91 per 100,000 residents (28 total)
– Pedestrian fatalities from vehicle crashes: 2.66 per 100,000 residents (5 total)

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Aedonis // Shutterstock

#30. Kansas City, Kansas

– Motor vehicle crash fatalities: 15.06 per 100,000 residents (23 total)
– Pedestrian fatalities from vehicle crashes: 2.62 per 100,000 residents (4 total)Close-up of a bicycle accident on the city street.

Ground Picture // Shutterstock

#29. Indianapolis

– Motor vehicle crash fatalities: 15.26 per 100,000 residents (134 total)
– Pedestrian fatalities from vehicle crashes: 4.44 per 100,000 residents (39 total)Bars on historical Broadway in downtown Nashville.

Wangkun Jia // Shutterstock

#28. Nashville-Davidson metro, Tennessee

– Motor vehicle crash fatalities: 15.49 per 100,000 residents (104 total)
– Pedestrian fatalities from vehicle crashes: 5.51 per 100,000 residents (37 total)Low angle of a car accident scene.

Lopolo // Shutterstock

#27. Orlando, Florida

– Motor vehicle crash fatalities: 15.55 per 100,000 residents (45 total)
– Pedestrian fatalities from vehicle crashes: 3.80 per 100,000 residents (11 total)Close-up of a scooter on a pedestrian crossing.

Ground Picture // Shutterstock

#26. Tampa, Florida

– Motor vehicle crash fatalities: 15.70 per 100,000 residents (64 total)
– Pedestrian fatalities from vehicle crashes: 3.43 per 100,000 residents (14 total)

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TFoxFoto // Shutterstock

#25. Knoxville, Tennessee

– Motor vehicle crash fatalities: 15.77 per 100,000 residents (30 total)
– Pedestrian fatalities from vehicle crashes: 2.63 per 100,000 residents (5 total)Close up of dented front bumper.

Kycheryavuy // Shutterstock

#24. Atlanta

– Motor vehicle crash fatalities: 15.80 per 100,000 residents (81 total)
– Pedestrian fatalities from vehicle crashes: 4.88 per 100,000 residents (25 total)Motorcycle helmet on the street after a fatal accident with a car.

round Picture // Shutterstock

#23. Dallas

– Motor vehicle crash fatalities: 16.53 per 100,000 residents (222 total)
– Pedestrian fatalities from vehicle crashes: 4.91 per 100,000 residents (66 total)Scene of an accident at night with flashing lights from emergency vehicles.

Tony Dunn // Shutterstock

#22. Shreveport, Louisiana

– Motor vehicle crash fatalities: 16.78 per 100,000 residents (31 total)
– Pedestrian fatalities from vehicle crashes: 4.33 per 100,000 residents (8 total)Car accident scene with motor bike.

Aleksandar Nalbantjan // Shutterstock

#21. Springfield, Missouri

– Motor vehicle crash fatalities: 17.25 per 100,000 residents (29 total)
– Pedestrian fatalities from vehicle crashes: 3.57 per 100,000 residents (6 total)

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Glenn Highcove // Shutterstock

#20. Palmdale, California

– Motor vehicle crash fatalities: 17.28 per 100,000 residents (26 total)
– Pedestrian fatalities from vehicle crashes: 3.99 per 100,000 residents (6 total)Close-up of destroyed car with deployed air bags.

bibiphoto // Shutterstock

#19. Kansas City, Missouri

– Motor vehicle crash fatalities: 17.70 per 100,000 residents (88 total)
– Pedestrian fatalities from vehicle crashes: 3.22 per 100,000 residents (16 total)Firefighters and police officers extinguish a vehicle fire in the middle of the night.

Silent O // Shutterstock

#18. Lancaster, California

– Motor vehicle crash fatalities: 17.97 per 100,000 residents (28 total)
– Pedestrian fatalities from vehicle crashes: 5.13 per 100,000 residents (8 total)A view of an overturned truck on an highway.

imofeev Vladimir // Shutterstock

#17. Louisville-Jefferson County metro, Kentucky

– Motor vehicle crash fatalities: 18.27 per 100,000 residents (113 total)
– Pedestrian fatalities from vehicle crashes: 5.01 per 100,000 residents (31 total)Car after crashing into a utility pole.

Vadim Ratnikov // Shutterstock

#16. Chattanooga, Tennessee

– Motor vehicle crash fatalities: 18.40 per 100,000 residents (34 total)
– Pedestrian fatalities from vehicle crashes: 1.08 per 100,000 residents (2 total)

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#15. Fort Lauderdale, Florida

– Motor vehicle crash fatalities: 18.45 per 100,000 residents (34 total)
– Pedestrian fatalities from vehicle crashes: 5.43 per 100,000 residents (10 total)Inside a car with airbags and windshield cracks.

Kaentian Street // Shutterstock

#14. Albuquerque, New Mexico

– Motor vehicle crash fatalities: 18.67 per 100,000 residents (105 total)
– Pedestrian fatalities from vehicle crashes: 5.33 per 100,000 residents (30 total)Car on fire on the side of the road.

Sharomka // Shutterstock

#13. Macon-Bibb County, Georgia

– Motor vehicle crash fatalities: 18.99 per 100,000 residents (29 total)
– Pedestrian fatalities from vehicle crashes: 4.58 per 100,000 residents (7 total)Damaged vehicle closeup after a car crash.

ESOlex // Shutterstock

#12. Glendale, Arizona

– Motor vehicle crash fatalities: 19.19 per 100,000 residents (49 total)
– Pedestrian fatalities from vehicle crashes: 5.88 per 100,000 residents (15 total)Blue flasher on the police car at night.

Tiko Aramyan // Shutterstock

#11. Jacksonville, Florida

– Motor vehicle crash fatalities: 19.34 per 100,000 residents (178 total)
– Pedestrian fatalities from vehicle crashes: 4.89 per 100,000 residents (45 total)

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Semiglass // Shutterstock

#10. Cleveland

– Motor vehicle crash fatalities: 19.81 per 100,000 residents (75 total)
– Pedestrian fatalities from vehicle crashes: 2.64 per 100,000 residents (10 total)Police cars at night.

zef art // Shutterstock

#9. San Bernardino, California

– Motor vehicle crash fatalities: 20.69 per 100,000 residents (45 total)
– Pedestrian fatalities from vehicle crashes: 5.52 per 100,000 residents (12 total)Car on its side after an accident.

GUNDAM_Ai // Shutterstock

#8. Birmingham, Alabama

– Motor vehicle crash fatalities: 21.26 per 100,000 residents (44 total)
– Pedestrian fatalities from vehicle crashes: 4.35 per 100,000 residents (9 total)Collision of a semi-truck and a passenger car on the highway.

Vitpho // Shutterstock

#7. Little Rock, Arkansas

– Motor vehicle crash fatalities: 21.73 per 100,000 residents (43 total)
– Pedestrian fatalities from vehicle crashes: 10.11 per 100,000 residents (20 total)Two cars, side view, after an accident.

Dmitry Kalinovsky // Shutterstock

#6. Tucson, Arizona

– Motor vehicle crash fatalities: 22.58 per 100,000 residents (125 total)
– Pedestrian fatalities from vehicle crashes: 6.68 per 100,000 residents (37 total)

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EVA CARRE // Shutterstock

#5. Baton Rouge, Louisiana

– Motor vehicle crash fatalities: 26.48 per 100,000 residents (58 total)
– Pedestrian fatalities from vehicle crashes: 9.13 per 100,000 residents (20 total)A white sedan after a collision with an electric pole.

wisawa222 // Shutterstock

#4. St. Louis

– Motor vehicle crash fatalities: 27.21 per 100,000 residents (81 total)
– Pedestrian fatalities from vehicle crashes: 6.72 per 100,000 residents (20 total)A truck after crashing into a pole.

desk006 // Shutterstock

#3. Detroit

– Motor vehicle crash fatalities: 28.71 per 100,000 residents (191 total)
– Pedestrian fatalities from vehicle crashes: 6.16 per 100,000 residents (41 total)Close-up of red light on police car.

Laszlo66 // Shutterstock

#2. Jackson, Mississippi

– Motor vehicle crash fatalities: 33.58 per 100,000 residents (53 total)
– Pedestrian fatalities from vehicle crashes: 9.50 per 100,000 residents (15 total)Car on its side next to a wet road.

Bigc Studio // Shutterstock

#1. Memphis, Tennessee

– Motor vehicle crash fatalities: 34.32 per 100,000 residents (223 total)
– Pedestrian fatalities from vehicle crashes: 9.70 per 100,000 residents (63 total)

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