Where do most car accidents happen in the U.S.?

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There’s a good chance you or someone you know has been in a car accident. According to the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), a car crash happens every 5 seconds on U.S. roadways. The frequency of these accidents shows how important it is for drivers to keep their eyes on the road and invest in car insurance.

We all have opinions on which cities or states have the worst drivers. Maybe someone cut you off the last time you were driving out of state, or you drive by more accidents on the side of the road in your hometown than anywhere else. While our personal experiences may color our opinions, diving into accident statistics can provide an unbiased view of where accidents happen the most.

The research team at ConsumerAffairs looked at data on car crashes from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) 2022 Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) to determine which cities and states had the most car accidents, including fatal crashes. We also included NHTSA’s Crash Report Sampling System (CRSS) data for each city and state's total number of accidents. The report contains fatal and nonfatal accident data for cars, light trucks, sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and vans. We ranked each city and state by the number of car crashes per 100,000 people in that defined area.

Key insights

Memphis, Tennessee, was the city with the highest number of fatal crashes per 100,000 people in 2022, at 33.33.

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Los Angeles, California, had the most fatal crashes, with 341 accidents in 2022.

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Mississippi was the state with the highest number of fatal car crashes per 100,000 people in 2022, at 21.97.

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A total of 39,221 fatal car crashes occurred in 2022 nationwide.

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Which city has the most car accidents?

Out of the 195 U.S. cities in our analysis, Memphis, Tennessee, had the most fatal accidents per 100,000 people in 2022 (33.33). This accident rate was nearly triple the nationwide rate of 11.77 per 100,000 people.

This finding may not surprise ConsumerAffairs readers, as Memphis was the top-ranked city in our worst drivers in America study last year. Another familiar finisher is 11th-ranked Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with 24.38 fatal accidents per 100,000 people. Baton Rouge ranked right below Memphis on our worst drivers list.

Reading, Pennsylvania, had the lowest rate of crashes in 2022, with 1.05 accidents per 100,000 people. Of the cities we examined, Reading was one of four with only one fatal car accident the whole year. The others were Passaic, New Jersey; Ames, Iowa; and Iowa City, Iowa.

Two interesting cities to note near the bottom of our rankings are Boise, Idaho, at 1.27 accidents per 100,000 people, and New York City, with 2.74 accidents per 100,000 people. According to 2022 FARS data, New York City’s low number of accidents per 100,000 people has to do with its 228 fatal car accidents being offset by its massive population of over 8.3 million people.

Which state has the most car accidents?

Mississippi had the most car accidents in 2022, with 21.97 per 100,000 people. Wyoming ranked second, with 20.30 accidents per 100,000 people. California had the largest number of total fatal crashes, with 4,109 in 2022.

The most common cause of fatal accidents in California and Mississippi was failing to yield the right of way.

Rhode Island had the fewest fatal accidents per 100,000 people in 2022, at 4.66. It was followed by New York and Massachusetts, with 5.62 and 5.9 accidents per 100,000 people, respectively. Like New York, Massachusetts’ low ranking on our list largely has to do with its high population of nearly 7 million.

Rhode Island’s ranking results from having only 51 fatal car accidents in 2022, the fewest of any state in our analysis.

How to protect yourself from overpaying for damages in a car accident

It’s never a bad idea to cover your bases and get good car insurance and an auto warranty. Most car insurance packages cover the costs of damage to your vehicle and other property in an accident or if anyone involved gets hurt.

An auto warranty is included in a new vehicle’s price tag and lasts for a specific amount of time or number of miles. Extended warranties from an independent company or dealership are also an option, but their costs and what they cover vary from place to place. Below are some frequently asked questions drivers have about car accidents and coverage.


The ConsumerAffairs Research Team looked at data on car crashes from Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), which tracks different metrics related to fatal road crashes, to determine the cities and states with the most fatal car accidents.

We’ve also included data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Crash Report Sampling System (CRSS) — which contains accident data on cars, light trucks, SUVs and vans — to find the number of all fatal and nonfatal motor vehicle crashes. The cities and states were ranked by the number of car crashes per 100,000 people based on the city or state population.

For questions about the data or if you'd like to set up an interview, please contact acurls@consumeraffairs.com.

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ConsumerAffairs writers primarily rely on government data, industry experts and original research from other reputable publications to inform their work. Specific sources for this article include:

  1. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “NHTSA File Downloads.” Accessed May 16, 2024.Link Here
  2. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “NHTSA File Downloads.” Accessed May 16, 2024.Link Here


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