27+ Car Accident Statistics: Buckle Up!

Do you feel safe on the road? 

The latest car accident statistics are an eye-opener. 

Let’s see some important stats first: 

Car Accident Statistics (Editor’s Pick):

  • 36,560 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes in the US, in 2018.
  • Pedestrian fatalities have increased by 69% in urban areas since 2009.
  • Alcohol-impaired-driving fatalities account for 29% of all fatalities.
  • An estimated 26,730 people died during the first 9 months of 2019 in vehicle crashes.
  • 56.7% of drivers eat or drink while driving.
  • Dogs represent a distraction for 31% of drivers.
  • 58% of teen car crashes are caused by distracted driving.
  • 1.3 million people die each year due to car accidents.

Did you know that an average of 6 million car accidents happen in the USA each year?

And that 3 million people are injured each year in the US alone?

Also, every year 2 million drivers get permanent injuries as a result of a car crash.

Don’t know about you, but those statistics seem quite scary to us.

Wanna know more?

Here it comes:

Car Crash Statistics

With that many people driving, we can safely – or rather unsafely – say that vehicle crashes are a normal day occurrence in America.

Let’s get started!

1. 36,560 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes in the US, in 2018.

(Source: NHTSA’s National Center for Statistics and Analysis)

According to the latest report on Fatal Motor Vehicle Crashes, 36,560 people lost their lives in car crashes

This represents a 2.4% decrease in deaths, when compared to 2017. Back then, 37,473 deaths were reported. 

36, 560 is still way too many, though.

2. The percentage of passenger car occupants fatalities decreased by 5.2% in 2018.

(Source: NHTSA’s National Center for Statistics and Analysis)

There were 702 fewer passenger car occupants fatalities in 2018, when compared to 2017.

Van occupant fatalities also decreased, with 93 fewer fatalities compared to last year. 

According to the 2018 car accident statistics, there has been a decrease in the percentage of fatalities in the following categories: 

  • Passenger car occupants – 702 fewer fatalities, 5.2% decrease.
  • Van occupants – 98 fewer fatalities, 8.3% decrease.
  • SUV occupants – 76 fewer fatalities, 1.6% decrease.
  • Pickup truck occupants – 82 fewer fatalities, 1.9% decrease.
  • Motorcyclists – 244 fewer fatalities, 4.7% decrease.
  • Alcohol-impaired-driving fatalities – 397 fewer fatalities, 3.6% decrease.
  • Speeding-related fatalities – 569 fewer fatalities, 5.7% decrease.
  • Fatalities in single-vehicle crashes – 654 fewer fatalities, 3.2% decrease.
  • Fatalities in multiple-vehicle crashes – 259 fewer fatalities, 1.5% decrease.
  • Passenger vehicle occupants killed in rollover crashes – 681 fewer fatalities, 9.5% decrease.

3. The percentage of pedestrian and pedalcyclists fatalities increased in 2018. 

(Source: NHTSA’s National Center for Statistics and Analysis)

The number of vehicle occupant fatalities decreased in all categories except large-truck occupants, according to fatality statistics. The decrease in vehicle occupant fatalities is mostly due to increasing seat belt use.

But.

This safety measure does not prevent pedestrians from getting hurt. 

The number of pedestrian and pedalcyclist fatalities increased. In 2018, there were 208 more pedestrian fatalities (3.4% increase from 2017) and 51 more pedalcyclists fatalities (6.3% increase). 

4. Non occupant fatalities represent 20% of overall traffic fatalities

(Source: NHTSA’s National Center for Statistics and Analysis)

The share of nonoccupant fatalities (pedestrians, bicyclists, etc) accounts for 20% of all fatalities. These numbers have increased the most since 2009.

Here is a comparison of the fatality composition:

2009 2018
Passenger car occupants  39% 35%
Light truck occupants  30% 27%
Nonoccupants 24% 20%
Motorcyclists  13% 14%
Large-Truck, Bus, and Other Vehicle Occupants 3% 4%

5. Since 2009, urban fatalities have increased by 34%.

(Source: NHTSA’s National Center for Statistics and Analysis)

Data from the Census Bureau show that urban population has increased by around 13%, since 2008. And with it, the number of traffic accidents has increased too.

According to NHTSA, fatalities in urban areas have increased by 34%. Fatalities in rural areas have declined by 15%.

6. Passenger vehicle occupant fatalities in rural areas have decreased by 19%. 

(Source: NHTSA’s National Center for Statistics and Analysis)

Since 2009, passenger vehicle occupant fatalities in urban areas have increased by 21%.

However, these types of fatalities have decreased in rural areas by 19%.

7. Pedestrian fatalities have increased by 69% in urban areas since 2009.

(Source: NHTSA’s National Center for Statistics and Analysis)

Traffic incidents where pedestrians get hurt are much more common in urban areas than in rural areas. 

Since 2009, pedestrian fatalities have increased by 69% in urban areas. On the other hand, they have decreased by 0.1% in rural areas.

We’re seriously considering moving to a rural area.

Are you?

8. Motorcyclist fatalities have decreased by 15% in rural areas since 2009. 

(Source: NHTSA’s National Center for Statistics and Analysis)

Rural roads are becoming safer for motorcyclists too. Since 2009, motorcyclist fatalities have decreased by 15% in rural areas.

In urban areas, where road traffic accidents are more common, motorcyclist fatalities have increased by 33% since 2009.

9. The proportion of people killed inside the vehicle has decreased from 80% in 1996 to 66% in 2018.

(Source: NHTSA’s National Center for Statistics and Analysis)

The percentage of people killed inside a vehicle has decreased. It reached 66% in 2018.

However, the proportion of people killed outside the vehicle, such as motorcyclists, pedestrians, pedalcyclists, and other nonoccupants, has increased from 20% in 1996 to 34% in 2018.

10. Alcohol-impaired-driving fatalities account for 29% of all fatalities.

(Source: NHTSA’s National Center for Statistics and Analysis)

Driving under the influence is one of the most common causes of motor vehicle accidents

In the US, alcohol-impaired-driving fatalities accounted for 29% of all fatalities in 2018.

This is the lowest percentage recorded since 1982. 

11. 87% of vehicle occupants that survived a fatal crash in 2018 were restrained.

(Source: NHTSA’s National Center for Statistics and Analysis)

In 2018, 87% of the survivors of a fatal crash were wearing a seat belt. Only 13% of survivors weren’t wearing a seatbelt. 

Of the passengers who were killed in a fatal car crash, 53% were wearing a seatbelt and 47% weren’t. 

12. Crashes caused by distracted driving accounted for 7.8% of total fatalities in 2018.

(Source: NHTSA’s National Center for Statistics and Analysis)

The total number of crashes caused by distracted driving was 2,841 in 2018.

In 2017, the number was higher – 3,242.

We get that getting lost in your thoughts is easy. Answering a text is also tempting. 

But at the end of the day getting home safe is what’s most important.

13. The number of car crash deaths involving a drowsy driver was 775 in 2018. 

(Source: NHTSA’s National Center for Statistics and Analysis)

In 2017, there were 810 fatalities caused by a drowsy driver. The number of fatalities with a drowsy driver decreased by 4.3% in 2018 and totaled 775. This represents 2.1% of all fatalities in 2018. 

14. An estimated 26,730 people died during the first 9 months of 2019 in vehicle crashes. 

(Source: NHTSA’s National Center for Statistics and Analysis)

According to the early estimate report for the first 9 months of 2019, 26,730 people died in a motor vehicle traffic collision

This represents a 2.2% decrease when compared to the number of fatalities during the first 9 months of 2018. Back then the number was 27,335. 

Distracted Drivers: Driving Statistics to Scare You at Night

You know what they say, don’t text and drive.

Now, let’s check out some more stats about distracted driving: 

15. 15.6% of drivers aged 18-24 admit they text while driving. 

(Source: The Zebra)

According to a survey on texting and driving done in 2020 by The Zebra, 15.6% of young drivers have admitted that they are texting while driving. 

And while 49% of the respondents believe this is illegal in all states, 20% have stated that they aren’t familiar with the laws on the topic. 

16. 37.1% of drivers agree that mobile devices distract you from driving safely. 

(Source: The Zebra)

While mobile devices are a known cause of impaired driving, there is still a large percentage of drivers distracted by mobile devices.

According to the survey done by the Zebra, 28.6% of drivers stated that texting is their main distraction while driving. 

17. 56.7% of drivers eat or drink while driving. 

(Source: The Zebra)

Besides using a mobile device, there is another common reason for distracted driving. 

Snacking or having a drink behind the wheel also has an effect on road safety.

It’s best to avoid them. Food can wait, safety is a priority. 

18. 1 out of 3 women drivers takes a photo while driving. 

(Source: The Zebra)

Taking a selfie is another type of smartphone-related distracted driving issue. 

We found it hard to believe, but unfortunately, it’s true.

Making phone calls, texting, using a GPS app and taking a selfie can all cause you to take your eyes off the road. 

19. Dogs represent a distraction for 31% of drivers.

(Source: The Zebra)

To lower your risk of a motor vehicle collision, you should consider using a kennel or a seatbelt if you are driving with your pet. 

The majority of all drivers – or 80% – are driving with their pets. However, only 17% are using a pet restraint. 

Your dog jumping in your lap while you’re driving is hardly a good idea.

20. 58% of teen car crashes are caused by distracted driving. 

(Source: The Zebra)

Distracted driving is the cause for 58% of all car crashes involving teenage drivers, according to teenage car accident statistics 2018

And speaking of teenage drivers, did you know that they are considered some of the most high-risk drivers? 

This is the reason why the average car insurance cost is higher for young drivers. 

Drunk Driving Stats and Facts

Driving under the influence is one of the main causes of car accidents worldwide.

Here are some stats which put into perspective how dangerous this really is: 

21. 20.1% of people aged 35 to 44 knew someone who had been killed in a drunk driving car accident. 

(Source: The Zebra)

Not surprisingly, most car crash statistics show how fatal accidents caused by drunk driving can be. Driving while intoxicated impaires the ability of drivers to drive safely on the road. 

There are services like Designated Driver, Uber, taxis and, of course, public transport, that can help you get home safely.

22. 26.6% of women drivers aged 18-24 have driven while buzzed. 

(Source: The Zebra)

On a more positive note, 45% of the female respondents of the survey have stated that they call someone to ask for a ride after they had been drinking. 

Setting a good example, ladies!

23. 22.3% of drivers believe they are unfit to drive after having 3-4 drinks. 

(Source: The Zebra)

It seems that having a few drinks isn’t enough to stop some drivers from getting behind the wheel, according to a survey on intoxication and driving. 

When asked after how many drinks they feel unfit to drive, the respondents answered as follows:

  • 43% never drive if they had been drinking,
  • 25.4% feel unfit to driver after 1-2 drinks,
  • 22.3% feel unfit to drive after 3-4 drinks,
  • 9.4% feel unfit to drive after 5-6 drinks. 

Road Accident Statistics Worldwide

Car crash trends are similar worldwide. Read on for the global numbers:

24. 1.3 million people die each year due to car accidents. 

(Source: Safer America)

Approximately 3300 people die each day as a result of a car accident. 

That’s more than a million car accident deaths per year!

25. People aged 15-44 represent more than half of all deaths due to a car crash. 

(Source: Safer America)

More than half of the road traffic fatalities are young adults, aged 15-44.

Seeing so many young lives being lost is quite saddening.

26. Car accidents are the leading cause of death for people aged 15-29. 

(Source: Safer America)

The leading cause of death in the world for young people are car accidents. They are also the 9th cause of death for people of all ages. 

27. Libya is the country with the highest rate of road traffic fatalities. 

(Source: We Forum)

According to the World Health Organization, the country with the highest rate of road traffic deaths is Libya – 73.4 deaths per 100,000 people. Second is Thailand, with 36.2 deaths per 100,000 people each year. Malawi is third, with 35 deaths per 100,000 people each year.

Fatal Car Accidents by State

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration keeps track of all of the traffic fatalities statewide. The most recent info is from 2018

So, let’s check out the states with the most fatal crashes.

Top 5 states with most fatal crashes 2018

  • Texas – 3,642
  • California – 3,259
  • Florida – 3,133
  • Georgia – 1,504
  • North Carolina – 1,437
  • Pennsylvania -1,190
  • Illinois – 1,031

Automobile Deaths per Year

These past 40 years, there have been fewer fatalities caused by car crashes.

Here are the numbers:

Car Accident Deaths per Year US

  • 2019 (January – September) – 26,730
  • 2015 – 35,484
  • 2010 -32,999
  • 2005 – 43,510
  • 2000 – 41,945
  • 1995 – 41,817

How Many People Die in Car Accidents?

Each year, more than a million people die in car accidents worldwide.

Let’s look at the numbers from the USA:

How many people die in car accidents in the USA?

According to data from NHTSA, approximately 30,000-40,000 people died in car accidents in America each year.

How many people die a day?

Every day, more than 90 people die in car accidents in the USA. 

In 2017, each 14 minutes someone was killed in a car accident. 

Seat Belt Lives Saved Statistics

If everyone on the road wore a seat belt, the number of traffic collision deaths would be greatly reduced. 

Here are some important seat belt stats and facts:

  • In 2017 the use of seat belts saved 14,955 lives.
  • Buckling up in the front seat of a car can reduce your risk of a fatal injury by 45%.
  • Wearing a seat belt in a light truck can reduce your risk of a fatal injury by 60%.
  • 51% of the male passengers killed in vehicles in 2017 weren’t wearing a seat belt. 

Key Takeaways 

While you can’t control how others drive, you can still do these things to lower your chance of getting in a traffic collision.

For starters, always wear a seat belt. And make sure that everyone else in your vehicle is also restrained. 

While on the road, turn off all non-important notifications and leave your phone in your pocket.

And don’t forget that snacking and drinking can distract you too!

If you have been drinking, try to get an alternative ride, such as a ridesharing service.

Like it or hate it, Uber indirectly contributes to safety on the road. These Uber revenue statistics prove it. 

Now let’s get back to these car accident statistics

The main point we can make out from these numbers is:

Drive safe everyone! 

There are people who love you.

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