31 Oct How Many People Die From Car Accidents Each Year?
With the average American driving 230+ hours annually, no matter how careful or experienced they are, they are likely to be involved in at least one collision during their lifetime.
Read on to know about car accident statistics in the US, causes, risks, injuries related to the car accidents and road safety tips for safe travel on California roads.
Car accident statistics in the US
- Every year, there are 18,510 auto accidents in the United States costing the country almost $900 billion.
- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that in 2021, the US roads saw the deaths of 42,915 people.
- On an average, 12.4 people out of every 100,000 people lose their lives due to fatal car crashes on the US Highways. In the US, the odds of a person dying in a motor-vehicle accident is 1 in 101.
- Alcohol impaired driving claims the lives of an average of 28 people each day. The highest number of DUI accidents happened in Texas, followed by California and Florida.
- The most accident-prone places in the country are parking lots, intersections, rural highways, stop-signs and two-lane roads.
- The highest number of car crashes happened in Texas followed by California.
- The most commonly reported causes of accidents are drunken driving( 28%) and speeding (26%).
- 57% of accidents were due to a singular vehicle collision whereas 43% were due to more than one vehicle.
- Though seat belts prevent death by 45% and risk of injury by 50%, 1 in 7 Americans does not wear them.
- People who don’t wear seat belts are 30% more likely to be thrown out of the vehicle in the event of a crash.
- In 2021, NHTSA reported that 950,000 accidents happened due to drivers texting while driving.
- Teenage drivers are more likely to cause crashes(12%) than older drivers(7.5%).
Car accident statistics in California
- Over 3300 Californians lose their lives to auto accidents, a number which is five times higher than the national average. The number of fatalities has increased by 10% in the last 10 years.
- In 2021, California witnessed 4,161 motor-vehicle fatalities, an increase of 400+ accidents from the previous year.
- In 2020, California was the state that saw the second highest number of accidents caused by alcohol-impaired driving—1,159 fatalities.
- The most vulnerable age group is the 21-25 age cohort, who are 1.5 times more likely to die than their 16-20 yrs counterpart. They are also twice as likely to die than 41-45 year old men.
- Half of California’s fatal car crashes involve drunk driving and over speeding.
- Pedestrians contribute to 24% of all the deaths caused due to a car crash in the past decade.
- Night time driving is dangerous in California, accounting for 14% of all car crash fatalities.
- The most dangerous cities for driving are Los Angles, San Diego, San Jose and Sacramento.
- The most number of accidents happen on Fridays during weekdays, Saturdays during weekends and in the month of August.
When is the most dangerous time to drive?
As per a 2020 analysis by the National Security Council, it was found that fatal car crashes were the highest on Saturday nights while non-fatal crashes were higher on a Friday night. The peak time also varied seasonally. During spring and summer days, it peaked between 8 p.m and midnight. During the Daylight Savings time, the reduced daylight and the shift in time attributed to fatigue that propelled more car crashes.
The National Sleep Foundation found that exhausted drivers are most likely to crash their vehicles. These happen when most drivers tend to be more tired like 2-4 p.m, midnight to 2 a.m, 4 a.m -6 a.m.
Rush hour driving was also dangerous given the heavy traffic, the need to be in office on time or the exhaustion pressing the need to get home. This makes 8 a.m to 10 a.m and 4 p.m and 7 p.m. on weekdays as the most dangerous time to drive. Drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs can cause crashes. These tend to peak on weekends between midnight and 3 a.m.
What are the various risk factors that cause accidents?
Car accidents can be caused due to various factors but there are other risk factors that increase the likelihood of an accident. They are:
- Inexperienced drivers on road
- Exhausted drivers
- Rage driving
- Distracted driving caused due to texting/eating/arguing/talking
- Over speeding
- Lack of maintenance of car causing mechanical failure
- Night-time driving
- Drunken driving
- Teenage passengers
- Underage drivers
- Rash and reckless driving
- Lack of attention to road signals
- Obstructions on the road
- Improper signage
- Road maintenance activity
What are different types of car accidents?
When two vehicles traveling in opposite directions collide causing massive damage and injuries especially when the cars are traveling at higher speeds.
When one car bangs into another car from behind, it is said to be rear-ended.
When a car collides on the side of another car, it is called a side impact collision. This happens during intersections or when backing out of a driveway etc.
When cars over speed, drivers can lose control.This can turn dangerous when they try to swerve off other vehicles or oncoming traffic leading to a rollover.
Side sweep accidents happen when two cars are traveling in the same direction but one of them initiates a lane change while the other is still blocking the road.
When cars collide, most often than not, in a busy road, the vehicles following them do not get enough reaction time. This causes a chain reaction of collisions where a large number of vehicles are rear-ended causing a huge vehicle pile-up.
Singular vehicle accident
A singular car accident is caused when only one car is involved in the accident. This accident is caused by exhausted drivers ramming on to obstructions on the road, veering off the road, slipping due to black ice etc.
What are the commonly reported injuries?
The commonly reported injuries after a car accident are:
- Impact injuries
- Brain injury
- Herniated disks
- Soft tissue injuries
- Penetrating injuries
Other symptoms that are commonly reported are:
- Temporary paralysis
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Memory loss
- Mood disorder
- Internal pain
What to do after a car accident?
If you or your loved one are in a car accident, get out of the car if you did not sustain any major injuries. Seek immediate medical attention if the injuries are severe and if bleeding is caused.
If not, move the car off the road without obstructing traffic, else wait for police to take it to the impound.
Check the other cars involved in the accident and see if the passengers and drivers are safe. Note down the number of the cars and the driver’s details if they are willing to share them. Inform law enforcement authorities immediately.
If you are not able to, ask your emergency contact to inform the insurance company. Remember to get the police report and retain it for later legal disputes. Get a thorough medical checkup at the hospital but remember to retain all the bills.
If the situation of the crash is murky and the clear cause of the accident was not immediately known, it is better to approach a car accident lawyer. They will help to file a compensation claim at court against the insurance of the at-fault party. Since California is a fault-based state, your compensation may be reduced if you were partly at fault. This places the burden of proof on you to gather enough information to absolve you of fault.
An expert car accident attorney will be able to take care of the paperwork, build a solid case and negotiate a rightful settlement on your behalf.
How can you be safe on the road?
Road safety is paramount to ensure the safety of self and the public.
Here are a list of rules that you should adhere to ensure the safety of your passengers and the public.
- Always wear a seat belt while driving and ensure that all your passengers are wearing them too.
- Never indulge in distracting work while driving like texting, checking emails, leaving voicemails, engaging in arguments etc.
- Always adhere to the road signage.
- Practice proper driving practices like right-of-turn, stopping at signals, lane discipline etc.
- Avoid driving at night.
- Always adhere to the speed limit.
- Ensure that your car is regularly serviced. Replace any faulty mechanical parts.
- Know the local traffic rules and follow them diligently.
- Never drink and drive. Ensure that your designated driver is capable of driving before leaving a party.
- Older drivers must avoid driving at night time due to reduced visibility and decreased reaction time.
- Always yield to pedestrians.
- Never drive when you are exhausted or sleep-deprived.
- Avoid cruise control during inclement weather.
Frequently asked Questions
Is California a no-fault state for car accidents?
California is an at-fault state which means that the driver who caused the accident is responsible for paying for the damages suffered by all the involved parties.
This means that the compensation is claimed with the insurance company of the at-fault party.
Usually the settlement process is initiated when the insurance company of the at-fault party agrees to the fair compensation claimed by the others. Else, the claim has to be taken to court for a judge/jury to decide.
If more than one party shares the blame for the accident, then the compensation is rightfully divided depending on the percentage of blame.
Do I need to report a car accident to the DMV in California?
In California, you need to file a Report of Traffic Accident Occurring in California with the DMV within 10 days of the car crash. This applies if the value of damage exceeds $1000 including bodily injuries or fatality.