United States Auto Accident Statistics
Thousands of people are killed every year in the United States in automobile accidents. Vehicles are the one part in American’s lives that are almost necessary. Since the invention of the automobile, it became simple to place businesses far away from homes, so now cars are usually required to get anywhere without walking for hours. Funnily enough, most people aren’t scared of cars, but many are scared of air flight, even though there is a far greater chance of being killed in a car than on an airplane. Knowing the facts behind automobile crashes will surely change many people’s minds on their likelihood of injury.
Motor vehicle crash data isn’t available at the end of each year, as it takes time to compile all of the data. So each year, the most recent available data is from 2-3 years prior. This data does still give an idea of how many crashes, deaths, and injuries are occurring. For instance, between 1990 and 2009, motor vehicle accidents in America ranged from 10.2 million to 11.5 million. In 2009, there were 10.8 million motor vehicle accidents. This isn’t the highest number on record, but it is the highest since 2004.
To fully understand the risk of death while driving as compared to other causes of death, it is important to look at the leading causes of death in America. Accidents are the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S. The number of accidental deaths is around 118,021, of which 34,485 of those are due to traffic accidents. This data comes from the Centers for Disease Control for 2009.
Luckily, not all vehicle crash statistics are gloomy. Though the number of car accidents is currently higher than in other years, the number of deaths attributed to car accidents is on a decline. In 1990, there were 44,600 people in a car wreck that died within a month due to the wreck. As of 2009, that number has dropped down to 33,800 deaths. A large contributor to this change in numbers is most likely the safety of modern day cars. Every year new safety features are added to motor vehicles, and thus, the number of deaths is on a steep decline and in 2009 was at its lowest since 2005.
Another promising number to consider is the number of deaths in relation to the number of people in an area, and in America as a whole. America’s population has been rising, so many people may think this is the only reason car accidents have increased, but this is inaccurate. In 1990, there were 17.9 deaths per every 100,000 people in America. The population has increased, but in 2008, there were only 12.3 deaths per every 100,000 people. This shows that even with the increased number of people and drivers in America, the motor vehicle death rate has still declined.
Another interesting statistic to consider is the safest states to drive in. Broken down state by state, it is possible to see which states are raising the national average, and which are lowering it. In 2009, Massachusetts had the lowest number of fatalities when considered with how many 100 million miles were traveled by vehicles in the state, coming in at only 0.6 deaths. The state with the highest fatality rate was Montana, with a rate of 2 deaths per every 100 million miles driven.
A final important statistic to look at is what may cause accidents. About 6,000 people die yearly from accidents involving distracted driving. This includes texting while driving. Sending a single text takes most drivers’ eyes off the road for the length of a football field. Refraining from texting and other distracting behaviors while driving can not only lower accident rates, but save lives. Hopefully, even if people continue to drive distracted, deaths will continue to drop.