Photo by Matt Chesin
There are more than 270 million registered vehicles on the road in the US. This number is higher than ever before, so road safety has never been more important.
Unfortunately, your safety on the road also depends on other people’s responsible driving. Factors such as poor weather conditions, low visibility, and vehicle faults can also lead to accidents on the road.
Understanding the details of these accidents could help you stay safe on the road. Or it could play a vital role in helping you put together a case after you’ve been involved in a car accident.
So how many accidents are there on the road each year? And how many people die in car accidents?
To answer these questions properly, we need to take a look at car accident statistics from recent years. In that case, you’ve come to the right place! Read on to find out everything you need to know about car accidents in the US.
- What Are the Common Cause of Car Accidents?
- Car Accident Statistics for 2019
- Car Accident Statistics for 2018
- Car Accident Statistics for 2017
- Statistics for Car Accidents Involving Non-Road-Users
- Who Is Most Affected by Car Accidents?
- Most Dangerous Places to Drive in America
- The Impact of Car Accidents in America
- What Should You Do If You’re Involved in a Car Accident?
- Keep These Car Accident Statistics in Mind When You’re on the Road!
What Are the Common Cause of Car Accidents?
A lot of different things can affect your driving. Some of these factors are external, while others are things within your control.
For example, wet weather, ice, and snow all make road conditions more dangerous to drive in. Fog or mist can also limit visibility when driving. This is why between 2007 and 2016, there were more than 1.2 million weather-related crashes in America.
You can’t control the weather, although you can control how safely you drive in it. But a lot of other causes of car accidents are much more within our realm of control.
Distractions while driving are the leading cause of car accidents in the US at the moment. This includes things like using your phone while driving or putting make-up on while driving.
Anything that takes your eye off the road leaves you vulnerable to an accident. Despite this, around 481,000 drivers in the US still use their phones daily while driving.
Other leading causes of car accidents in the US include:
- Driving while intoxicated (from drugs and/or alcohol)
- Exceeding the speed limit
- Reckless driving
- Running a redlight
40% of car accidents in the US happen at nighttime. This is because visibility is poor, and you also run the risk of fatigue. Falling asleep at the wheel is, understandably, extremely dangerous and is more likely at night.
The number of car accidents per year in America varies somewhat, and each year, the leading causes of accidents change. To get a better idea of how the roads are changing, let’s take a look at some US car accident statistics from the last few years.
Car Accident Statistics for 2019
Some statistics for 2019 may be estimates; however, we do know that approximately 40,000 people died in roadway accidents last year.
Car crash fatalities account for only a small portion of the 6 million accidents that happen every year. 50% of these accidents lead to injuries. A significant number of crashes also lead to damage to property, such as trees, buildings, or road signposts.
Car Accident Statistics for 2018
This led the NSC to release a statement advising drivers of the safety precautions that they should take while on the road. These included encouraging drivers to join their educational program ‘Road to Zero’. They also appealed to lawmakers to introduce stricter precautions to protect road-users.
More than half of the people who died in road accidents in the USA during 2018 were pedestrians or cyclists.
Car Accident Statistics for 2017
2017 saw a drop of one percent in traffic accidents from the previous year, although this was higher than in 2015.
In 2017, there were 37,473 road-accident related deaths across the United States. Police reported that more than half of these deaths involved single-car collisions. This includes collisions with stationary objects and non-collision events, such as rollovers.
Accidents also resulted in more than 1,800,000 injuries and 4,530,000 cases of property damage. Driving under the influence played a huge role in the number of fatal accidents on the road during 2017.
Statistics for Car Accidents Involving Non-Road-Users
2018 saw a peak in the number of pedestrians and cyclists killed on the roads. Almost 36,000 people died from these types of accidents in 2017 and 2018 – the most the US has seen in nearly 30 years.
At the moment, New Mexico is home to the highest rate of pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 people. In contrast, Nebraska holds the lowest rate.
When cars are involved in an accident, the driver loses control of their vehicle. This often means that they mount the curb, leaving pedestrians vulnerable. These people are also much less protected that people in a car.
The speed of a vehicle also has a big impact on the damage it causes a pedestrian or cyclist. Hitting a person at 40mph means, they are between 3.5 and 5.5 times more likely to die. This is in comparison to if they were hit at 30mph.
Vehicles traveling at slower speeds are also less likely to hit a pedestrian or cyclist in the first place. Reducing your speed by just 1mph reduces the chances of hitting a pedestrian by 5%!
Who Is Most Affected by Car Accidents?
It might surprise you find out that specific characteristics about you can make you more or less likely to be involved in a car accident. Age, race, and the type of car that you drive all have an impact on your chances of being involved in a car accident.
Passenger cars and light trucks, such as SUVs or pick-ups, are most likely to be involved in a fatal crash on the road. In fact, in 2016, 95% of all fatal crashes involved these types of vehicles.
They are unable to withstand as much force as larger vehicles. If they are involved in a collision they will bear the brunt of the impact. Light trucks are also prone to roll-overs.
Younger drivers are also at risk on the road for several reasons. They are more likely to take risks when driving and are more likely to drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. 15% of teen crashes involve an intoxicated driver.
People between the ages of 21 and 24 have the highest fatality rate across the country per 100,000 people. But teen drivers are following quickly behind them.
Back in 2013, people aged between 15 and 19 accounts for 11% of car accident costs across the United States. This might not seem like a considerable figure; however, this demographic makes up to 7% of the US population. So teens have an unproportionate involvement in car accidents across the country.
Older drivers may also be at risk. There are several reasons for this.
They may have held their licenses for longer without updating their road knowledge to meet current standards. They are also likely to take medication that could impair their driving ability.
Most Dangerous Places to Drive in America
Certain places in the United States have higher road accident statistics than others. This may be because road conditions are worse or because people drive more recklessly in these areas. Some roads even have national reputations for being dangerous!
The I-15 stretch between Las Vegas and Los Angeles was named the United States’ most dangerous road in 2010. In 15 years, 1,069 people have died along with it due to its hot conditions and lack of pitstops. In such a vast landscape, it can challenges drivers to focus on the road ahead.
Other roads, such as the Million Dollar Highway in Colorado or the Dalton Highway in Alaska, present different challenges. These include hairpin bends, sheer roadside drops, and dangerous weather conditions.
This doesn’t mean you can stay safe simply by avoiding these roads, though. Some states have much higher fatality rates than others.
Last year, eight states across America saw an increase in fatality rates of more than 11%. These include:
- North Dakota
- New Mexico
At the other end of the spectrum is Massachusetts, which has the lowest fatality rate in the country. Other safer states for driving include New Hampshire, Michigan, and Connecticut.
The Impact of Car Accidents in America
A car accident can affect all areas of your life.
Car accidents in America cost around $242 billion worth of damage every year. This includes the cost of vehicle repairs or replacements and the repair of any property.
It also accounts for medical bills generated by crash injuries. This includes emergency treatment and recovery treatments, such as physical therapy.
But these injuries don’t just have a financial impact. They could require a long recovery period or have a long-term effect on your health. Common injuries from car accidents include:
- Internal bleeding
- Head injuries (such as a Traumatic Head Injury)
- Temporomandibular joint injuries
- Scraps and cuts (or infections caused by these)
- Broken ribs
- Knee trauma
- Herniated discs
- Pinched nerve injuries
Some injuries are psychological as well as physical. After a crash, you may develop post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD, or you may feel anxious about getting back in a car. These psychological injuries can affect your ability to work and your relationships.
If you’re found responsible for causing a car accident, you may face penalties or even jail time. In the US, a DUI conviction means your license will be suspended, and you could spend between 90 days and a year in jail. Punishments are more severe if a person is injured or killed in the crash.
What Should You Do If You’re Involved in a Car Accident?
Even if you survive it, being involved in a car accident can have a huge impact on your life. This is why it’s important to seek the appropriate support as soon as possible following your accident.
If the accident wasn’t your fault, you may be able to seek financial compensation. This won’t undo the effects of the accident but it provides you with important support while you recover. You may be able to put this towards your medical bills or use it to repair your vehicle.
To get compensation, either from another driver or from your insurance company, you’ll need to make a strong case. In that case, there are several things you’ll need to do.
A case always needs strong evidence to back it up so make sure you keep a record of this.
You’ll need a report on what happened during the crash. Photo evidence or video footage is ideal, and this can’t be disputed. But you could also look for eye-witness accounts.
If you suffered any injuries during your crash you’d also need a medical record of these. Ideally, you should get this from an experienced no-fault doctor rather than your primary physician. Click here to find out how to find a doctor after a car accident.
You should also keep a record of any other financial costs that resulted from your crash. This could include time taken off work to recover or the cost of vehicle repair.
Finally, make sure to talk to an experienced personal injury lawyer. They’ll help you to build a strong case and help you track down any evidence that you might need. They’ll also deal with any correspondence during your case so that you can focus on getting better.
Keep These Car Accident Statistics in Mind When You’re on the Road!
As you can see from these car accident statistics, driving in America isn’t completely risk-free. Even the most careful drivers can find themselves in trouble on the road so it’s important to ask for help if this happens.
If you’ve been involved in a car accident recently, call us to find an experienced auto injury doctor near you. Don’t delay, call 1-800-897-8440 and get help now!