These 25 U.S. cities are the most dangerous for drivers

As the national death toll from speeding rises, the highways and byways in these 25 places pose the greatest danger

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It can be easy to press the gas pedal a little harder without noticing, or in some cases, convince yourself that a little more speed won’t do any harm. In fact, as many as 87% of drivers admit to speeding at least a few times a year. But even going 5 miles per hour over the speed limit, as common as it may be, can be fatal.

Speeding fatalities are at a 14-year high, alarming regulators and transportation experts. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 12,000 speed-related crashes resulted in fatalities in 2021, the most recent data available, comprising 29% of all traffic fatalities. Speeding also accounted for almost 330,000 injuries in the same time frame.

Driving over the speed limit creates risks for everyone on the road, including pedestrians, who are at a growing risk of dying as a result of motor vehicle crashes.

Location affects the chance of a deadly crash. About half of all speed-related fatal accidents occurred on urban roads in 2021, along with 35% on rural roads, while only 14% occurred on interstate highways. And while speeding anywhere can be dangerous, the likelihood of a fatal accident is higher in some U.S. locales than others, according to an analysis by ConsumerAffairs.

The team at ConsumerAffairs calculated the speeding fatality rate in U.S. municipalities in 2021 to rank the most dangerous areas for speeding. If you’re traveling through the locations topping the list — many of which are in California and Texas — you should stay alert when you’re near moving vehicles. Remember to watch out for fast drivers and safely move out of their paths to protect yourself and others.

Key findings

  • Everything’s more dangerous in Texas: Unfortunately for the Lone Star State, Texas has five of the top 25 most deadly U.S. locations in terms of speeding. From Beaumont to Dallas, Texas is a state where you’ll want to watch out for speeders.
  • Beware of San Bernardino County: The Golden State of California has three locales in the top five that are the most dangerous for speeding, and all of them are located in San Bernardino County. The county maintains 2,500 miles of roadway that you may find speeders flying through.
  • Hesperia, California has the highest fatality rate from speeding: Be on the lookout in this Mojave Desert city. Hesperia experienced 10.894 speeding deaths per 100,000 residents in 2021, making it the most dangerous area for speeding in the U.S.

The top 10 cities where speeding-related deaths are highest

It’s clear that municipalities in California and Texas take the high spots on the list of dangerously speedy destinations. Keep your eye out for speeders anywhere you drive, but be especially mindful in these locations.

Hesperia, California

This sprawling town surrounded by the Mojave Desert saw 40.74% of its driving fatalities result from speeding. And with a population just topping 100,000, its speeding fatality rate comes out to 10.894 deaths per 100,000 residents annually, making it the most dangerous location for speeding in the U.S. Hesperia also made it onto ConsumerAffairs’ list of cities with the worst drivers.

Beaumont, Texas

Beaumont came in second on the list with 10.661 speeding fatalities per 100,000 people. Intersected by several major highways, including the massive Interstate 10, drivers and pedestrians alike should be careful of vehicles passing through these corridors. About 48% of Beaumont’s driving fatalities came from speeding.

Rialto, California

Historic U.S. Route 66 passes through the heart of this small but growing city in Southern California. Nestled just west of its much larger neighbor, the city of San Bernardino, Rialto is ranked third on the list of locations with the highest rates of speed-related crashes. In 2021, about 3 of every 5 driving crash fatalities were due to speeding.

Odessa, Texas

A corridor loop runs through this historical western Texas town and undergoes seemingly constant construction — a factor that the NHTSA points out can increase the chance of a fatal speeding accident due to the presence of equipment, new road markings and more foot traffic. About 58% of driving fatalities in Odessa in 2021 were speed-related.

Victorville, California

Victorville sits just beside a 900-acre regional park full of fishing lakes and hiking trails, so any visitor to the area should beware of cars passing by. Victorville, a frequent stop on a drive for tourists heading to the Mojave Desert or for Angelenos on a run to Las Vegas, had 9.562 speeding fatalities per 100,000 people in 2021.

Rochester, New York

The midsize city of Rochester, home to roughly 210,000 people, is split in two by the Genesee River and bisected by I-490. It has a large share of deadly speeding accidents — 62.5% of driving fatalities in this upstate New York city in 2021 were speed-related, with almost 9.5 speeding fatalities per 100,000 people.

Independence, Missouri

The hometown of former President Harry S. Truman sits just south of the Missouri River and adjacent to I-435, which encircles neighboring Kansas City. Independence ranks seventh on the list, with 9 speeding fatalities per 100,000 people.

Hartford, Connecticut

Hartford’s suburbs have almost 10 times the population of the city itself, and its many highways fill up with traffic during rush hour. The capital of Connecticut, also dubbed the Insurance Capital of the World, finds itself eighth on the list of dangerously speedy locales, with speeding accounting for 58.82% of its car-related fatalities.

St. Louis, Missouri

With an average of 8.182 speeding fatalities per 100,000 people in 2021, the Gateway to the West finds itself at No. 9 on the list. St. Louis is connected to surrounding regions by four interstate highways and a major international airport.

Albuquerque, New Mexico

The most populated city in our list of the top 10, Albuquerque rounds out the most dangerous municipalities for speeders. Freeways, boulevards and bridges run through all parts of the New Mexico city home to over half a million residents. Albuquerque had 8.176 speeding fatalities per 100,000 people in 2021.

Lower speed = higher safety

To be fair, location is just one factor in crash statistics, which vary across age groups, driving conditions and vehicle types. Fatal crashes are more likely to happen on weekends, in the evenings and on holidays. Younger drivers, motorcyclists and people under the influence are more likely to end up in fatal speeding accidents. (About 43% of deadly speed-related crashes involve alcohol.) If passengers in speeding cars are unrestrained or road conditions are poor — due to slush or mud, for example — the risk of a fatal accident becomes even greater.

Every second counts on the road. As speed behind the wheel doubles, stopping distance quadruples. That can be the difference between life and death.

Thousands of people die in speed-related accidents each year, and the number is on the rise. But everyone can do their part to keep the roads safe. Research shows that even as roads get more congested, crashes can be avoided so long as drivers keep a reasonable speed. If you’re traveling through areas with a high rate of dangerous speeders, be sure to steer clear, and always be mindful of the speed limit.


The ConsumerAffairs team analyzed the most recently reported crash data from the U.S. Department of Transportation (2021), including the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), to find the locations with the highest speeding fatality rate per 100,000 people in 2021. For this ranking, we only included locations with populations of 100,000 or greater.

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