The Cities Where Car Accidents Happen Most Often

Accidents increased nationwide from 2018 to 2019, according to the data.

Accidents increased nationwide from 2018 to 2019, according to the data. Shutterstock

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Houston, Charlotte and Los Angeles had the most accidents in the country last year, according to data from a transportation nonprofit.

Houston, Los Angeles and Charlotte, North Carolina had the most traffic accidents in the country last year, while an interstate exit in Greenville, South Carolina was the nation’s worst collision hotspot, according to recent research from a transportation nonprofit.

Go Safe Labs, a San Francisco-based nonprofit, used accident reports from 2018 and 2019 to analyze nearly 2 million collisions, then broke the data down by city and date to rank the 10 municipalities with the highest number of accidents last year. Researchers also generated a data set using latitude and longitude to identify the 10 “hotspots” with the highest accident counts.

Houston had 22,188 accidents in 2019, the most of any city, followed by Charlotte, North Carolina (21,818), Los Angeles (19,660), Austin, Texas (16,635) and Dallas (14,685). Raleigh, North Carolina (12,846), Oklahoma City (12,476), Baton Rouge, Louisiana (11,313), Nashville (10,091) and Phoenix, Arizona (9,876) round out the top 10.

Nationwide, accidents increased by 6.8%, from 892,615 in 2018 to 953,630 in 2019. But many of the cities with the most accidents had decreases in that same time period. Raleigh, for example, had 25.5% fewer accidents in 2019 than in 2018, followed by similar percent decreases in Nashville (15.4), Charlotte (13.3) and Houston (12.1). 

The most accident-prone “hotspot” in 2019 was the Pelham Road Exit on Interstate 85 in Greenville, South Carolina, with 404 accidents. Two other spots in Greenville—an interchange between I-85 and Interstate 395, and a stretch of I-85 between Maudlin Road and S.C. 295—also made the top 10. The city of Columbia, also in South Carolina, also had an intersection that made the list. 

None of these hotspots fell in the cities with the largest number of accidents, according to the report. But three were in and around New York City, an area where there are high traffic volumes. Other hotspots were located in Portland, Oregon, Minneapolis and Miami. 

The data can be used to inform motorists of hazardous locations, said Kevin Pomplun, chairman of Go Safe Labs, which “uses data to advance transportation infrastructure and enhance public safety.”

“In 2020 we wanted to start the new year by reviewing what we learned from the past year,” he said in a statement. “We thought with a little more traffic safety data we can hopefully know a little more about the safest places to drive.”

Kate Elizabeth Queram is a Staff Correspondent for Route Fifty and is based in Washington, D.C.

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