New Study Ranks Tennessee Roads in Top 10 List of ‘Most Dangerous’ in the Country

New research by 1-800 Injured shows that Tennessee roads rank as some of the most dangerous in the country. For the study, states were ranked based on an index of fatality rates per 100,000 people, per 100 million vehicle miles traveled, and per 100,000 licensed drivers to determine a “Road Danger Rating”.

Tennessee’s Road Danger Rating came in at 8.23 and ranked 9th out of 30 states used in the study.

The three states with the most dangerous roads, according to the study, are Mississippi (9.93 Road Danger Rating), Arkansas (9.59 Road Danger Rating), and South Carolina (9.59 Road Danger Rating).

The five other states that ranked higher than Tennessee with the most dangerous roads include Montana (9.12 Road Danger Rating), New Mexico (8.98 Road Danger Rating), Kentucky (8.71 Road Danger Rating), Louisiana (8.64 Road Danger Rating), and Wyoming (8.44 Road Danger Rating).

Tennessee also ranked 9th in a separate section of the study that focused on road fatalities per 100,000 people. Compared to its 2020 population of 6,910,840, there were 1,217 motor vehicle fatalities in the same year, giving the Volunteer State a fatality rate of 17.61.

Mississippi has the highest road fatality rate compared to its population, with 25.39 deaths per 100,000 people. In second place is Wyoming, where there are as many as 22.02 deaths per 100,000 people in the state. Arkansas had the third-highest number of road deaths compared to population, with 21.19 fatalities per 100,000 people.

Meanwhile, Tennessee ranked 11th in another section of the study that focused on road fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled and 9th in a section that focused on road fatalities per 100,000 licensed drivers.

In addition, Tennessee ranked 24th in a section comparing states by worst road quality.

According to the Tennessee Traffic Fatalities Report by the Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security, there were 1,327 total traffic fatalities throughout the state in 2021.

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Kaitlin Housler is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network.
Photo “Tennessee Mountain Highway” by Brent Moore. CC BY-NC 2.0.



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9 Thoughts to “New Study Ranks Tennessee Roads in Top 10 List of ‘Most Dangerous’ in the Country”

  1. Stan

    Well, since Tennessee is a mountainous state I would expect the roads to be curvy and some have deep dropoffs if you wreck on the side of the roads. Tennessee is not Florida – it is not flat but mountainous. If you cannot handle these kinds of roads, then either don’t drive or visit the state. If you live in Tennessee and cannot deal with the roads then move to Florida or some other area that is flat. I love the Great Smoky Mountain area and obviously, the roads are curvy there and there are some places that if you wreck you will roll down hills for a long distance. By the way, the research was done by 1-800-Injured which is a group of accident lawyers – that says it all right there!

  2. william r. delzell

    We need more railways to take freight and passenger burdens off our over-worked highways! How come none of you are advocating more railway infrastructure construction to relieve our Interstates and other highways?

    1. Steve Allen

      William, how are you going to get to the rail station, walk? Mass transit is fine in larger cities but in rural America it’s a waste of time and money. All the trains I see here in NE TN ARE carrying freight. But again, the freight has to get to the rail yard somehow. What would really help is if America lost it’s insatiable appetite for junk make in china.

    2. 83ragtop50

      Because it does not make sense financially.

  3. ArKayne

    Oh good heaven, this is (cough, cough) stats from a freaking ATTORNEYS group. Y’all are essentially quoting a bunch of ambulance chasers. Even the article cited does’t say how these dubious stats were quantified outside of “deaths per blah, blah”. What was the percentage were tourists passing through? Illegals? Drunks? Elderly? There is nothing showing the state/regional demographics of the drivers.
    Geez, I question any “stats” a bunch of skeezy trial lawyers put out.

  4. Steve Allen

    Roads don’t kill people, people kill people.

    1. LaShawn

      You are absolutely correct!

  5. 83ragtop50

    Guess they looked at the dangers of driving through Memphis and Nasville. And I suppose that they have never driven in New York.

  6. mike

    Roads in Tennessee have gotten worst. I40 in Memphis has been torn up for 40 years.