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Cities with the highest rate of motor vehicle fatalities

How deadly are your local roads? Stacker used Department of Transportation data to rank the 50 cities with the highest vehicle crash fatality rates.  

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Car crash scene at night with emergency services around.

Photo Spirit // Shutterstock

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 2020—the most recent data available—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 "urgent 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 "disturbing."

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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#50. Oklahoma City

Front of black car damaged by accident.

SKT Studio // Shutterstock

- 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)

#49. Salt Lake City

Car crashed into parked car on neighborhood street.

William A. Morgan // Shutterstock

- 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)

#48. Wichita, Kansas

Car crash accident on street.

Dmitry Kalinovsky // Shutterstock

- 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)

#47. Newport News, Virginia

Vehicle lying on its roof in the middle of the road.

Gorodenkoff // Shutterstock

- 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)

#46. St. Petersburg, Florida

Two cars crashed into each other.

Kwangmoozaa // Shutterstock

- 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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#45. Miami

Car turned over after an accident.

Godlikeart // Shutterstock

- 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)

#44. Montgomery, Alabama

Broken front of a car after a collision.

Dmitry Kalinovsky // Shutterstock

- 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)

#43. Huntsville, Alabama

A white and black car pictured after a crash.

Vereshchagin Dmitry // Shutterstock

- 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)

#42. Toledo, Ohio

Scene of a car crash with paramedics.

Gorodenkoff // Shutterstock

- 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)

#41. New Orleans

Destroyed front of a car after a crash.

Krummerchen // Shutterstock

- 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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#40. Phoenix

Close-up of policeman doing investigation at road accident area.

Ground Picture // Shutterstock

- 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)

#39. Bakersfield, California

Close-up shot of the trunk of a car lying upside down after a crash on a motorway.

Juice Flair // Shutterstock

- 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)

#38. Fresno, California

Photo of a car, helmet and motorcycle on road.

osobystist // Shutterstock

- 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)

#37. Augusta-Richmond County consolidated government, Georgia

Fatal automobile accident on road, destroyed in a crash.

pictoplay // Shutterstock

- 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)

#36. Tulsa, Oklahoma

Emergency crew removing a victim from a car accident.

Phase4Studios // Shutterstock

- 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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#35. Fayetteville, North Carolina

Groceries and broken bike on pedestrian crossing after collision with a car.

Ground Picture // Shutterstock

- 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)

#34. Milwaukee

Police car with a flasher in front of damaged truck.

Dmitry Kalinovsky // Shutterstock

- 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)

#33. Akron, Ohio

Blurred photo of a motorcyle accident scene.

Zoran Ras // Shutterstock

- 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)

#32. Hollywood, Florida

Inside of a car with shattered glass.

Nutnaree Saingwongwattana// Shutterstock

- 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)

#31. Mobile, Alabama

Artificial white roses flowers on the site of a car crash.

rdjan Randjelovic // Shutterstock

- 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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#30. Kansas City, Kansas

Warped, flattened white car after a car accident.

Aedonis // Shutterstock

- 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)

#29. Indianapolis

Close-up of a bicycle accident on the city street.

Ground Picture // Shutterstock

- 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)

#28. Nashville-Davidson metro, Tennessee

Bars on historical Broadway in downtown Nashville.

Wangkun Jia // Shutterstock

- 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)

#27. Orlando, Florida

Low angle of a car accident scene.

Lopolo // Shutterstock

- 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)

#26. Tampa, Florida

Close-up of a scooter on a pedestrian crossing.

Ground Picture // Shutterstock

- 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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#25. Knoxville, Tennessee

Emergency responders at the scene of a motorcycle and car accident.

TFoxFoto // Shutterstock

- 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)

#24. Atlanta

Close up of dented front bumper.

Kycheryavuy // Shutterstock

- 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)

#23. Dallas

Motorcycle helmet on the street after a fatal accident with a car.

round Picture // Shutterstock

- 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)

#22. Shreveport, Louisiana

Scene of an accident at night with flashing lights from emergency vehicles.

Tony Dunn // Shutterstock

- 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)

#21. Springfield, Missouri

Car accident scene with motor bike.

Aleksandar Nalbantjan // Shutterstock

- 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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#20. Palmdale, California

Traffic patrol vehicle sits in the middle of the road at a traffic accident investigation.

Glenn Highcove // Shutterstock

- 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)

#19. Kansas City, Missouri

Close-up of destroyed car with deployed air bags.

bibiphoto // Shutterstock

- 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)

#18. Lancaster, California

Firefighters and police officers extinguish a vehicle fire in the middle of the night.

Silent O // Shutterstock

- 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)

#17. Louisville-Jefferson County metro, Kentucky

A view of an overturned truck on an highway.

imofeev Vladimir // Shutterstock

- 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)

#16. Chattanooga, Tennessee

Car after crashing into a utility pole.

Vadim Ratnikov // Shutterstock

- 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

Car on fire at night with police lights in background.

Photo Spirit // Shutterstock

- 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)

#14. Albuquerque, New Mexico

Inside a car with airbags and windshield cracks.

Kaentian Street // Shutterstock

- 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)

#13. Macon-Bibb County, Georgia

Car on fire on the side of the road.

Sharomka // Shutterstock

- 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)

#12. Glendale, Arizona

Damaged vehicle closeup after a car crash.

ESOlex // Shutterstock

- 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)

#11. Jacksonville, Florida

Blue flasher on the police car at night.

Tiko Aramyan // Shutterstock

- 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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#10. Cleveland

Road cone against the background of a car crash.

Semiglass // Shutterstock

- 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)

#9. San Bernardino, California

Police cars at night.

zef art // Shutterstock

- 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)

#8. Birmingham, Alabama

Car on its side after an accident.

GUNDAM_Ai // Shutterstock

- 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)

#7. Little Rock, Arkansas

Collision of a semi-truck and a passenger car on the highway.

Vitpho // Shutterstock

- 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)

#6. Tucson, Arizona

Two cars, side view, after an accident.

Dmitry Kalinovsky // Shutterstock

- 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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#5. Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Crime scene tape in front of an accident.

EVA CARRE // Shutterstock

- 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)

#4. St. Louis

A white sedan after a collision with an electric pole.

wisawa222 // Shutterstock

- 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)

#3. Detroit

A truck after crashing into a pole.

desk006 // Shutterstock

- 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)

#2. Jackson, Mississippi

Close-up of red light on police car.

Laszlo66 // Shutterstock

- 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)

#1. Memphis, Tennessee

Car on its side next to a wet road.

Bigc Studio // Shutterstock

- 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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