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Shelby County Car Accident Statistics

Content Reviewed by: A. Parker Trotz
Mr. Trotz was recognized from 2019-2023 as a Super Lawyers Mid-South Rising Star. Mr. Trotz is also a member of the Young Lawyers Division of the Memphis Bar Association, Memphis Bar Association, Tennessee Bar Association, and the Tennessee Trial Lawyers Association where he serves on the Executive Committee. READ OUR EDITORIAL GUIDELINES

Mr. Trotz was recognized from 2019-2023 as a Super Lawyers Mid-South Rising Star. Mr. Trotz is also a member of the Young Lawyers Division of the Memphis Bar Association, Memphis Bar Association, Tennessee Bar Association, and the Tennessee Trial Lawyers Association where he serves on the Executive Committee. READ OUR EDITORIAL GUIDELINES

Mr. Trotz was recognized from 2019-2023 as a Super Lawyers Mid-South Rising Star. Mr. Trotz is also a member of the Young Lawyers Division of the Memphis Bar Association, Memphis Bar Association, Tennessee Bar Association, and the Tennessee Trial Lawyers Association where he serves on the Executive Committee. READ OUR EDITORIAL GUIDELINES

Nationally, millions of automobile wrecks occur each year, and Tennessee contributes its fair share.

In 2007, there were 172,214 motor vehicle crashes in Tennessee, according to the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security. While this number seems high, the state’s drivers made progress over the next few years, with crashes dropping to 158,059 in 2009.

Unfortunately, that number shot back up to 206,407 in 2016. The year 2019 saw 204,869 accidents across Tennessee roadways.

Car Wrecks Occurring in Shelby County, Tennessee

With 575,000 motorists, Shelby County has more licensed drivers than any other county in Tennessee. Davidson County ranks second, with 448,000 licensed drivers.

These numbers aren’t surprising since Memphis is the second-largest city in the state. Nearly one million people live in Memphis and surrounding towns in Shelby County, with the population growing daily as people pour into the area to work, go to school, and visit.

As a result, traffic accidents are incredibly common in Shelby County and have increased in recent years. Between 2010 and 2019, motor vehicle crashes increased by more than 44 percent in Shelby County, which includes Memphis, Germantown, Cordova, Whitehaven, Collierville, Bartlett, Arlington, Millington, and Lakeland.

Total Accidents in Shelby County: 2010–2019

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In the Memphis area, car accidents can occur anywhere. Some of the most dangerous intersections in the city are:

  • Poplar Avenue and Ridgeway Road
  • Winchester Road and Riverdale Road
  • Shelby Drive and Lamar Avenue
  • Sycamore View Road and Summer Avenue
  • Winchester Road and Kirby Parkway

 A recent study of 18-wheeler and commercial truckers who were on cell phones while driving named two Memphis intersections among the nation’s most dangerous: 

  • Compress Drive and S. Lauderdale Street
  • E. Holmes Road and Lamar Avenue

You can decrease the risk of a collision by exercising additional caution when driving in some of Shelby County’s most accident-prone areas.

Shelby County Car Accident Statistics: 2022 Update

Every year, tens of thousands of car accidents are reported in Shelby County. According to data published by the Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security, there are, on average, more than 30,000 collisions in the area annually.

  • 2020: 35,031 total wrecks
  • 2021: 38,250 total wrecks
  • 2022: 34,866 total wrecks

Over those three years, an average of 99 car accidents happened daily on Shelby County roads. That is about 4.1 accidents an hour. Based on these statistics, Shelby County ranks second for car accidents in Tennessee. Only Davidson County has a higher crash rate.

Injury-Causing Car Accidents in Shelby County

In 2022, 8,440 car accidents in Shelby County caused at least one personal injury. There was a slight drop from the prior year when there were 9,059 injury-causing wrecks in the greater Memphis area. Still, an average of 23 car accidents cause serious injuries every day.

Fatal Car Accidents in Shelby County

There were at least 235 fatal car accidents reported in Shelby County in 2022. Again, this was a slight drop from 2021, when 241 auto accidents resulted in a death.

When do most car accidents happen in Shelby County?

For the most part, traffic accidents are spread fairly equally throughout the week in Shelby County:

  • Sunday: 4,018 car accidents
  • Monday: 4,787 car accidents
  • Tuesday: 4,985 car accidents
  • Wednesday: 5,039 car accidents
  • Thursday: 5,388 car accidents
  • Friday: 5,571 car accidents
  • Saturday: 5,042 car accidents

Statistically, Friday is the most dangerous day to drive in Shelby County. In 2022, nearly 16 percent of the county’s traffic accidents occurred on Fridays. On the other hand, Sunday is generally the safest day to travel in Shelby County. About 11.4 percent of the county’s auto accidents happened on Sundays in 2022.

Crash data also reveals that about 24.2 percent of all Shelby County car accidents happen between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m., right at the height of rush hour.

What causes most car accidents in Shelby County?

Car accidents can—and do—happen for many different reasons in Shelby County. However, crash data shows that certain driver behaviors contribute to accidents.

In 2022, leading causes of Shelby County auto accidents included:

  • Careless driving (4,795 collisions, contributing to 13.7 percent of all wrecks)
  • Failing to yield the right of way (3,440 collisions, contributing to 9.8 percent of all wrecks)
  • Distracted driving (6,535 collisions, contributing to 18.7 percent of all wrecks)
  • Improper turns (1,373 collisions, contributing to 3.9 percent of all wrecks)
  • Improper lane change (1,483 collisions, contributing to 4.3 percent of all wrecks)
  • Following improperly (2,847 collisions, contributing to 8.2 percent of all wrecks)

Speeding, drunk driving, failing to obey traffic signals, and other reckless acts were also top contributors to car accidents in Shelby County that year.

Drunk Driving Car Accidents in Shelby County, Tennessee

The number of accidents involving drunk and drugged drivers has declined in recent years. In fact, between 2011 and 2022, drunk driving car accidents decreased by 63.79 percent. In 2011, 754 drunk driving wrecks were reported in Shelby County. In contrast, just 273 drunk driving collisions occurred in Shelby County in 2022. 

Distracted Driving in Shelby County, Tennessee

Unsurprisingly, Shelby County residents drive distracted just as often as the rest of the country, with distracted driving listed by police as a factor in 7,143 accidents in Shelby County in 2016 alone.

By 2019, that figure increased to 7,901. The percentage of drivers for whom inattentive driving was listed as a factor increased by over 10 percent from 2014 to 2015 and by over 14 percent from 2015 to 2016. From 2016 to 2019, inattentive driving increased by nearly 13 percent.

While Tennessee has banned driver texting, hand-held cell phone use is still allowed for drivers in many cases. Legislators are taking steps to prevent further distracted driving accidents, especially in school zones, where even holding a phone is a class C misdemeanor. 

Regardless of experience or age, distracted driving can result in drivers failing to stop at stop signs, speeding, driving on the wrong side of the road, and causing accidents that have a high injury rate.

Traffic fatalities in Shelby County in 2016 accounted for an incredible 12.7 percent of all fatal car accidents in Tennessee. By 2019, Shelby County traffic fatalities accounted for 13.6 percent of all car accident deaths in Tennessee. 

While it is clear that more populated areas experience more crashes and injuries than less populated rural areas, Shelby County still has an extraordinarily high number of traffic fatalities. From 2015 through 2019, Shelby County ranked second overall in crashes, behind only Davidson County. Shelby also had the second-highest number of young drivers (ages 15 to 24) involved in crashes.

Shelby County does have the highest number of licensed drivers in the state, but as the statistics show, the number of distracted drivers on our roads continues to grow each year, resulting in record numbers of serious accidents. While we as drivers can do our best to focus on the road and our surroundings, we can’t always prevent other drivers from driving distracted. 

Being the victim of a serious car accident can result in the need for medical attention, time away from work, counseling, physical therapy, or even surgery. It can be difficult to manage the complex aftermath of a serious car accident, but the Memphis car accident lawyers of Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz have the expertise and experience to assist you at every step.

Turn to the Trusted Car Accident Lawyers at Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz for Help After a Wreck in Shelby County, Tennessee

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury from a Shelby County car accident, the Memphis car accident lawyers of Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz are ready to assist you and discuss your case.

Each day, our personal injury lawyers represent people injured across the Memphis area, including Memphis, Germantown, Collierville, Cordova, Whitehaven, Bartlett, Millington, Munford, Atoka, and Arlington. 

Our auto accident attorneys have experience bringing claims for all types of injuries, including cases involving brain trauma, wrongful death, spinal cord injury, broken bones, and neck and back injuries. If you are looking for a car accident lawyer with trial experience, call us today at 866-724-1141 or complete our online form for a free consultation.

NST Law Attorneys Corey Trotz and Alex Saharovich

Contact us for a free consultation now so that we can review your case and decide how we can best help you.

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