TRIP analyzed the latest data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and ranked U.S. cities with a population over 1 million by the number of traffic fatalities per 100,000. The top 10, and their fatality rate, were:
1. Kansas City, 18.8
2. Tampa-St. Petersburg, FL, 17.6
3. Phoenix, 16.48
4. Detroit, 16.4
5. Dallas, 16.23
6. Atlanta, 16.17
7. Miami, 16.16
8. Denver, 13.66
9. St. Louis, 13.65
10. Las Vegas, 12.74
The Kansas City Star, however, takes issue with the city’s number one ranking. The newspaper’s review of the same NHTSA statistics found Kansas City was third worst among the 60 largest cities in the country, behind Memphis and Nashville.
The two Tennessee cities were not included on the TRIP list, because the TRIP study only considered the population of the individual cities – not their metropolitan areas. The Kansas City Star says both Memphis and Tennessee rank above 1 million in 1996 metro area populations. Memphis’ fatality rate was 20.1, while Nashville’s was 19.6 per 100,000 – both higher than Kansas City’s rate of 18.8.
Oklahoma City, with 18.5 deaths per 100,000, would rank just below Kansas City, but it’s not on TRIP’s list, either.