Dallas is one of the largest cities in America, with a metropolitan area population of more than 7.6 million as of the 2020 census. That means that hundreds of thousands of drivers hit the area’s roads every day, which inevitably leads to car crashes.
To understand what happens in all those crashes, we worked with 1Point21 Interactive to analyze data on more than 680,000 motor vehicles in the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area from 2018 through 2022 — an average of 375 crashes per day for five years.
- Nearly 70% of crashes in the Metroplex occur in Dallas and Tarrant counties, home to the metro area’s primary cities: Dallas and Fort Worth. A slightly lower percentage of fatal crashes, approximately 66%, happen there.
- Less than 8% of crashes — 52,661 collisions over the five-year period — involve zero passenger vehicles (two- and four-door cars, SUVs and pickup trucks), while only 1.4% of crashes involve motorcycles.
- More than 750 crashes every year involve police vehicles, fire trucks or ambulances.
- 63% of crashes are two-vehicle collisions, and an additional 28% are single-car crashes.
- Approximately 30% of crashes involve either teenage drivers or drivers over the age of 60.
Where are crashes happening most often?
Of the 683,000 crashes that occurred in the Dallas-Fort Worth area from 2018 through 2022, about 70% of the crashes — just under 475,000 — happened in Dallas or Tarrant counties, with 274,000 of those crashes taking place within the Dallas and Fort Worth city limits.
More crashes occurred on city streets (286,000) than any other type of road, but more than 49,000 of the crashes happened on Interstate 35, nearly twice as many as on any other single roadway.
Looking past interstates, there are several state and local roads that are frequent spots for crashes. Some are also home to the largest numbers of injuries and deaths in crashes, including Farm to Market Road 157, a highway on the western side of the Metroplex that runs past AT&T Stadium and Globe Life Field in Arlington, and the President George Bush Turnpike, which loops around Dallas from Grand Prairie in the southwest to Garland in the northeast.
|Roadway||Total crashes, 2018–2022||Roadway||People injured in crashes||Roadway||People killed in crashes|
|Dallas North Tollway||6,589||Farm to Market Road 157||3,568||Farm to Market Road 157||31|
|Farm to Market Road 157||5,713||Dallas North Tollway||1,932||Farm to Market Road 51||30|
|Pres. George Bush Turnpike||4,774||Pres. George Bush Turnpike||1,381||Pres. George Bush Turnpike||28|
|Dallas Parkway||2,733||Dallas Parkway||1,338||Dallas North Tollway||26|
|Coit Road||2,427||Forest Lane||1,231||Forest Lane||18|
|Forest Lane||2,245||Coit Road||1,146||Farm to Market Road 156||18|
|Sam Rayburn Tollway||2,224||State Highway 78||1,105||U.S. Hwy. 287 Business||18|
|Farm to Market Road 1382||2,000||Matlock Road||1,055||Ferguson Road||17|
|Midway Road||1,741||Farm to Market Road 1382||1,025||Farm to Market Road 1382||16|
|U.S. Hwy. 287 Business||1,715||North Belt Line Road||926||State Highway 180||15|
What kind of vehicles are getting into crashes?
Nearly all of the crashes we analyzed — more than 92% — involved at least one passenger vehicle, and just under 75% included solely passenger vehicles. An additional 96,000 crashes involve vans, trucks or buses, while about 4,300 involved some sort of emergency vehicle: fire trucks, police cars, or ambulances.
Four-door passenger cars were by far the most common vehicle type — appearing in 60% of all collisions — followed by SUVs, pickup trucks, and two-door passenger cars.
About 70% of crashes resulted only in property damage, while a little over 0.5% — 3,726 crashes in total — were fatal. Approximately 11,000 crashes involved motorcycles, but those crashes turned fatal more than 11 times as often (5.5%) as crashes only involving passenger vehicles.
Less than 10% of crashes involve more than two vehicles.
Who’s driving these vehicles?
Just under 1 in 5 crashes — 127,300 — involved at least one driver over the age of 60, while another 97,000 involved a teenage driver. Interestingly, despite a perception of teens as potentially dangerous drivers, crashes involving young drivers are fatal slightly less often than the overall average.
When do crashes happen?
Friday is the most common day of the week for crashes and Sunday is the least common, a pattern that holds in all 11 Metroplex counties. The gap is largest in Rockwall County, the third-smallest county in the area, where more than twice as many crashes happen on Friday (17.8%) as on Sunday (8.5%).
But Saturday is the day with the second-fewest crashes in six of the 11 counties, suggesting that increased commuter traffic during the week may outweigh the possibility that people drive in a less diligent manner over the weekend. (A notable exception to this: Dallas County, where Saturday is the second most common day for crashes.)
Analyzing the time of day when crashes occur reveals that on weekdays, nearly 40% of crashes happen during morning and afternoon commute periods (6:00–8:59 a.m. and 4:00–6:59 p.m.), with the biggest peak happening in the 5:00 p.m. hour.
Crashes between midnight and 4:00 a.m. are significantly more likely to occur on weekends (15% of crashes) than on weekdays (less than 5%), but the largest number of weekend crashes still happen in the afternoon.
Do crashes happen in particular weather?
Just over 10% of all crashes happen in poor weather conditions like rain, snow, fog, or heavy wind. In fact, nearly half of crashes take place under optimal conditions: at daylight on a clear day, and on dry roads.
That combination of weather, lighting and road conditions is also the most common in fatal crashes, but it only happens a little over a quarter of the time — 28%. Fatal crashes are about twice as likely to happen when it’s dark outside (60%) as nonfatal crashes (31%), so be extra careful when driving at night.
How often are drivers who get into crashes impaired?
At least one driver was impaired by alcohol in more than 11,500 crashes, according to the data, and nearly 6% of those crashes were fatal. Crashes where at least one driver was found to be impaired by drugs were even more deadly, though — 39% of those 1,981 crashes killed at least one person.
Data sources and methodology
All crash data comes from the Texas Department of Transportation’s Crash Records Information System database.
We downloaded records of 683,060 crashes from 1/1/2018 through 12/31/2022 for the 11 localities that make up the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area (Collin, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Hunt, Johnson, Kaufman, Parker, Rockwall, Tarrant and Wise counties) and analyzed fields about driver characteristics, vehicle types, and information about the crashes themselves.
Feel free to use the data in this analysis, but if you do, please link back to this page for attribution purposes.