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Auto Crash Statistics

Last updated Friday, November 24th, 2023

Car accident statistics reveal they are the highest cause of death among healthy people in the US. In 2017 alone, the NHTSA reported there were an estimated 6,452,000 police-reported traffic crashes, with 40,327 of these proving fatal.

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Breaking Down Car Crash Statistics

Although there has been a decrease in the number of accidents on the road compared to previous years, car accident statistics still show that speeding, distracted driving and driving under the influence are putting people at significant risk. With 225.3 million licensed drivers on the roads in the United States in 2017, car crashes have become a major public safety concern.

Source: NHTSA

US Car Accident Statistics: Key Facts for 2019

A statistical projection of traffic fatalities for the first quarter of 2019 shows that an estimated 8,110 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes. This is a similar figure to the 8,200 deaths that were estimated for the first quarter in 2018.Reference 1

For more information, see the NHTSA Traffic Safety Facts, 2019.

  • Over 37,000 people die in road accidents each year
  • 2.35 million are injured or disabled by their accidents
  • Over 1,600 children under 15 years of age die each year
  • 2 million drivers experience a permanent injury every year.
  • Road crashes cost the U.S. $230.6 billion per year, or an average of $820 per person
  • California and Texas have the highest rates of car accidents in 2018.
  • There is an average of one alcohol-impaired driving fatality every 48 minutes
  • Most fatal injuries happen during weekends and on holidays such as Thanksgiving when alcohol use is more predominant.Reference 2

Who Has the Most? Car Accident Statistics by Age

While males have always had a higher ratio of crashes than females, age also plays an important factor too with younger drivers (16-20) much more likely to die in a collision. Driving recklessly played an important part in this, with drivers aged between 15-20 the most likely to die as a result of a speed-related fatal crashes compared to any other age group.

Source: U.S. DOT, NHTSA, Federal Highway Administration

Teenage Car Accident Statistics Showed the Highest Incident Rate

In 2017, 1,830 young drivers aged 15 to 20 died in a car accident. In fact, car accidents are the leading cause of death for this age group, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.

As with other years, deaths among the 16-20 age range showed that teenage car accident statistics were disproportionately high among the population – Teenage drivers formed 5.3 % of all licensed drivers but made up 35.6% of all fatalities.

  • Seatbelts: 47% percent of deaths were considered ‘unrestrained’ or without a seat belt.
  • Alcohol: Alcohol was also involved in many crashes, 24% of the young drivers 15 to 20 who were killed in crashes had a BAC of .01 g/dL or higher; 20% had a BAC of .08 g/dL or more.Reference 3

4th of July Risks: Car Accident Statistics by Holidays

Although accidents happen all year round, there are specific times when crashes seem to happen more frequently. It’s been noted that accidents seem to happen more around the time of holidays such as July 4th and New year, this could likely be the result of intoxicated driving and because of increased travel. In 2016, the holiday period with the most car accident fatalities was:

Distracted Driving: Inattention still a Major Factor

There were 2,935 fatal crashes that occurred on U.S. roadways in 2017 that involved distraction (9% of all fatal crashes)

  • Nine percent of fatal crashes in 2017 were reported as distraction-affected crashes.
  • Six percent of all drivers involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crashes.
  • 3,166 people killed in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers
  • Eight percent of drivers 15 to 19 years old involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted.Reference 5

Cell Phone Use and Texting: Car Accident Statistics

In 2019, 48 states in the US ban text messaging for all drivers and 20 states prohibit all drivers from using hand-held cell phones while driving.Reference 6

Despite this, texting and general cell phone use are both equally major causes of crashes, not only for vehicle occupants but also for pedestrians and bicyclists.

Car Accidents Due to Texting Statistics

  • In 2017, 434 of the 3166 distracted driver fatalities involved the driver was using cell phone
  • Eight percent (271 of 3,255) of drivers 15 to 19 years old involved in fatal crashes were distracted at the time of the crashes. Reference 7

Drunk Driving: Alcohol-Related Car Crash Deaths

An alcohol-impaired driving fatality is considered to be any accident in which the driver had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 grams per deciliter (g/dL) or more. In 2017, data shows that drunk driving was the cause of 29% of all roadway deaths.Reference 8

  • Total Road Fatalities, 2017: 37,113
  • Alcohol-Related Driving Fatalities, 2017: 10,874Reference 9
  • Alcohol-Impaired Driving Fatalities per Day, 2017: 30Reference 10

Regional Differences: Car Accidents Statistics by State

Car accidents vary significantly by state depending on the congestion and road conditions also contribute to the data. In 2017, the top ten states with the greatest number of car accidents are listed below.

NHTSA has a map of alcohol-related car crash deaths by state.

Other Vehicles: Motorcycles, Pedestrians and Bicycles

Pedestrian and bicyclist and car accident statistics for 2018 showed an increase in deaths from 2017 according to a preliminary report from the NHTSA.Reference 12 The report shows that 599 bicyclists, pedestrians and other people were killed outside of automobiles. Pedestrian deaths accounted for 16% of all U.S traffic deaths in 2017, up from 12% in 2009 and Motorcycle riders accounted for 14 percent.

The agency said pedestrian fatalities were projected to rise 4% and bicyclist deaths by 10%

Motorcycle vs Car Accident Statistics

  • According to NHTSA’s 2016 crash data, motorcyclist fatalities happen roughly 28 times more frequently than deaths in any other vehicles.
  • The NHTSA states that roughly 80% of motorcycle accidents result in rider injury or death whereas only 20% of car accidents are estimated to result in injury/death.
  • In 2016, 5,286 people died in motorcycle crashes, up 5.1 percent from 5,029 in 2015, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).Reference 13

If you have been injured in a car accident that was not your fault, be assured that our attorneys will work hard to prepare a strong case so that your suffering will not go unheeded and we can help recover the compensation you deserve.

Call us at 800-333-9999 for a free consultation and to have your questions answered. You can contact us in Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana where our offices are open 24 hours a day to serve you.

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1. [Traffic Safety Facts 2019] Jump Back ↩

2. [Facts + Statistics: Highway safety] Jump Back ↩

3. [Traffic Safety Facts 2017] Jump Back ↩

5. [Traffic Safety Facsts: Distracted Driving] Jump Back ↩

6. [Distracted Driving | Cellphone Use] Jump Back ↩

8. [Traffic Safety Facts – State Alcohol-Impaired-Driving Estimates ] Jump Back ↩

9. [2017 Fatal Motor Vehicle Crashes] Jump Back ↩

10. [CrashStats: Quick Facts 2017] Jump Back ↩

12. [U.S. pedestrian, bicyclist deaths rise in 2018: report] Jump Back ↩

13. [Facts + Statistics: Motorcycle crashes] Jump Back ↩

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