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Vehicle Accident Statistics in the U.S. and Worldwide

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Almost every person alive owns a car, has driven a car, or has been a passenger in a car. Cars, RV’s, Trucks, Semi’s, and other vehicles on the road have been an enhancement to our current way of life.  However, with great progress comes risks.

The Vehicle Accident Statistics in the U.S. and Worldwide, below will give you a greater insight into both the U.S. vehicle accidents as well as the overall worldwide vehicle accidents that occur on our roadways.  

These statistics cover:

At a glance car crash statistics:

Are car accidents the leading cause of death?

Car accidents are now the 8th leading cause of death worldwide.

How many car accidents are there per year?

Every year, there are approximately 6 million car accidents in the U.S. alone.

How many car accidents are there per day?

On average, there are 16,438 car crashes per day in the US.

How many car accident deaths are there per year?

Nearly 1.35 million people die in car crashes each year. On average, that’s 3,700 deaths a day (globally). An additional 20-50 million are injured or disabled.  In the U.S. the total number of deaths in 2017 was 34,247.  

What is the leading cause of accidents?

Distracted driving causes 25-50% of all crashes.

What day is the deadliest day of the week?

More people die on Saturday in the U.S. than any other day.

Read more below for Vehicle Accident Statistics in the U.S. and Worldwide

Car Accident Statistics 2021

The car accident statistics below cover a wide range of car statistical information for car-related accidents in the United States.  

  • There were 36,096 car accident fatalities in 2019 on U.S. roads.
  • $230.6 billion is the annual cost of car accidents in the U.S.
  • 46% of all car accident fatalities per year happen on rural roads.
  • Montana’s rural roads are the deadliest in the nation with 90% of fatal accidents. 
  • On average, there are 6 million car accidents in the U.S. every year. That’s roughly 16,438 per day.
  •  The most deadly time to drive is midnight to 3 AM with 1,015 fatal accidents and the second most deadly time to drive is 6 PM to 9 PM with 1,001 fatalities. 
  • 3 million people are injured or disabled annually as a result of an accident.
  • The number one cause of death for a U.S. citizen traveling abroad is dying as a result of a traffic accident. 

Driving demographics

In the first quarter of 2019, more than a quarter of a billion vehicles were operating on America's roads.  

  • Men are more likely to drive than women. In 2016, 90.0% of male US residents drove at least occasionally, whereas 86.6% of female residents did.
  • Teenagers who hold a driver’s license have declined since the 1980s (although there has been a slight uptick since 2014). For example, in 1983, 46.2% of 16-year-olds held a driver’s license; in 2018, only 25.6% of 16-year-olds held a driver’s license.
  • In 2016 US drivers made 186 billion driving trips, spent 70 billion hours driving, and drove 2.62 trillion miles.
  • Motorcycle owners comprised 8.02% of US households.
  • 81% of motorcycle owners were male, and 19% were female in 2018.
  • In 2017, there were 36,000,000 trucks registered and used for business purposes (excluding government and farming), representing 24% of all trucks registered. This included 3,680,000 Class 8 (heavy) trucks, such as truck tractors and dump trucks.
  • All registered trucks traveled 297.6 billion miles, and combination trucks (tractor-trailers) traveled 181.5 billion miles back in 2017.
  • 3.5 million truck drivers were employed in the United States in 2018.

Distracted and texting related driving

One-third of teens say they have texted while driving.

  • Dialing a phone is one of the most dangerous distractions, increasing a driver’s chance of crashing by 12 times.
  • A majority of drivers view typing (96.2%), reading (94.3%), and talking (79.7%) on a hand-held cellphone while driving to be very or extremely dangerous. In contrast, only 22.5% perceive the use of hands-free technology of their phones, such as Bluetooth or CarPlay, while driving to be very or extremely dangerous.
  • Drivers believe the risk of being caught by the police for reading (43.7%) or typing (42.7%) a text/email on a hand-held cellphone than they do for talking on a hand-held cellphone (40.6%).
  • 76% of drivers support a law against holding and talking on a cellphone and about 86% of drivers support a law against reading, typing, or sending a text or email while driving.  Nevertheless, 43.2% of drivers report having driven while talking on a hand-held cellphone at least once in the past 30 days. Fewer respondents engaging in distracted driving by reading (38.6%) and typing a text/email (29.3%) on a hand-held cellphone while driving.
  • Reading or sending a text takes your eyes off the road for 5 seconds. It’s like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed at 55 miles per hour!
  • Dialing a phone number while driving increases a teen’s risk of crashing by six times.
  • 25% of drivers used a cell phone right before they were involved in a crash.
  • 96% of surveyed drivers consider themselves a safe driver, but 56% admit to using the phone while driving.
  • Reading or writing increased the risk of crashing by 10 times.
  • Child passengers can be 12 times more distracting to a driver than talking on a cell phone. One study found that the average parent driver took his or her eyes off the road for three minutes and 22 seconds during a 16-minute trip.
  • Over 80% of drivers admit to dangerous behavior while driving, such as changing clothes, steering with a foot, painting nails, or even shaving.
  • The most frequent (62%) cause of distracted driving crashes is being lost in thought or letting your mind wander.
  • Eating food while driving a  manual transmission double the chances of distracted driving crashes.
  • Cell phone apps are one reason for the increase in distracted driving. The Waze app rewards drivers for reporting traffic conditions and games like Pokemon Go encourage drivers to search for virtual creatures along roads and highways.
  • One survey of drivers in six countries found that 35% admitted to changing their clothes while driving, 13% admitted to applying makeup while driving, and 15% admitted to engaging in sexual activity while driving.

Impaired driving statistics

Marijuana (after alcohol) is the drug most often linked to drugged driving.

  • 94% of all drivers perceive driving after drinking as very or extremely dangerous. However, almost 10% admit to having done so in the past 30 days.
  • Nearly 70% of drivers consider driving shortly (within an hour) after using marijuana to be very or extremely dangerous. However, 91% of drivers socially disapprove of driving shortly after using marijuana.
  • 88.3% of drivers indicate driving after using potentially impairing prescription drugs as very or extremely dangerous. About 47% of drivers consider that drivers driving after using potentially impairing prescription drugs would be likely to be caught by the police.
  • Chances are three in five that you will be involved in a crash due to impaired driving in your lifetime.
  • 12.8 million drove after using illicit drugs in 2017. 
  • The number of alcohol-positive drivers killed in crashes that also tested positive for drugs increased by 16% from 2006 to 2016.
  • Among drivers testing drug-positive killed in crashes in 2016, 4% tested positive for both marijuana and opioids, 16% for opioids only, 38% for marijuana only, and 42% for other drugs.
  • The percentage of traffic deaths in which at least one driver tested positive for drugs has nearly doubled over the last ten years.
  • 50 mg of diphenhydramine (a popular over-the-counter antihistamine) can impair your driving more than a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.10%. (The legal limit for BAC is under 0.08% in most US states.)
  • 90% of motorcycle crashes compared with 33% of automobile crashes involving injuries cite the use of drugs or alcohol.  Every year in the United States, about 2,000 motorcyclists are killed and about 50,000 are seriously injured in this type of crash.
  • In the United States, 29% of motorcyclists killed in crashes had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or more, meaning that they were legally intoxicated at the time. An additional 8% had a BAC above zero but less than 0.08%.

Fatigued driving statistics

Fatigued drivers are responsible for more than 6,400 US deaths annually.

  • Around 96% of drivers identify drowsy driving as very or extremely dangerous. However, only 29% of drivers think drowsy drivers risked being caught by the police.
  • More than 97% of drivers socially disapprove of drowsy driving.
  • 35% of US drivers sleep less than seven hours daily.
  • The estimates in 2017 show 91,000 police-reported crashes involved drowsy drivers. These fatigued driving crashes led to an estimated 50,000 people injured and almost 800 deaths.
  • Staying awake continuously for 18 hours can impair driving as much as a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.05%.
  • Fatigued drivers are two-and-a-half times as likely to have a motor vehicle accident.
  • Men (17%) are three times as likely as women (5%) to admit that they have fallen asleep at the wheel.
  • Drivers who get only five or six hours of sleep in 24 hours nearly double their risk of a vehicular accident.
  • In 2001-2003, truck driver fatigue was associated with 13% of serious truck crashes. 

Drunk driving statistics

Each day about 800 people are injured in a drunk driving crash.

  • Over 94% of drivers perceive driving after drinking as very or extremely dangerous. However, almost 10% admit to having done so in the past 30 days.
  • Drunk driving costs the United States $199,000,000,000 annually.
  • 30% of all driving fatalities each year involves alcohol-impaired drivers.
  • Men are nearly two-times as likely as women to have been intoxicated while driving or involved in fatal motor vehicle traffic accidents.
  • Each day in America, 30 people die as a result of drunk driving crashes. That’s one fatality every 48 minutes.
  • The rate of under 21 drunk driving fatalities per 100,000 population has declined 29% over the past ten years.
  • About one-third of traffic deaths in the United States involve a driver with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. 
  • 42% of motorcyclists involved in single-vehicle crashes had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of at least 0.08% (which constitutes legal intoxication in most states).
  • Among bicyclists ages 16 and older who were killed in 2018, 20% had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at or above 0.08%.
  • 42% of pedestrians, aged 16 and older, killed in nighttime (9 p.m. to 6 a.m.) crashes in 2018 had blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) at or above 0.08%.

Speeding statistics

Speeding is the number one cited driver-related factor in fatal highway crashes.

  • Speed-related crashes cost Americans $40,400,000,000 each year.
  • For more than twenty years, speeding has been involved in approximately one-third of all motor vehicle fatalities.
  • Teenagers are more likely than older drivers to speed and allow shorter following distances.
  • Over half of the five million annual car crashes in the United States are caused by aggressive drivers, with speeding being the most prevalent contributor.
  • In 2016, Speeding killed 10,111 people in the US, accounting for more than 27% of all traffic fatalities.
  • Speed is a factor in 31% of all US teen driver fatalities.
  • 42% of the surveyed drivers said they do not consider going 10 mph over the speed limit to be speeding. Another 10% said they don’t think a 20-mph increase is speeding either.
  • Data nationally shows that even a 10-mph speed increase ups the risk of a crash by 9.1%.
  • Drivers ages 15-20 had the highest portrayal in speed-related fatal crashes (32% and 22%) compared to any other age group in 2016.
  • There were 203 fatal crashes in 2017, in work zones, in which speeding had been a factor.
  • Speeding was a factor in 48% of motorcyclists involved in single-vehicle crashes.

Aggressive driving statistics

Beware - 37% of aggressive driving incidents involve a firearm.

  • 66% of all traffic fatalities are caused by aggressive driving.
  • 19-39-year-old drivers were significantly more likely to engage in aggressive behaviors.
  • 50% of the drivers who are on the receiving end of aggressive behavior, such as horn honking, tailgating, or a rude gesture, admit to responding with aggressive behavior themselves.
  • 2% of drivers admit to trying to run an aggressor off the road at least once.
  • In 2014, 0.7% of drivers admitted to regularly blocking other vehicles from changing lanes. 0.3% of drivers admitted to regularly cutting off other vehicles deliberately. 0.1% of drivers admitted to regularly bumping or ramming other vehicles intentionally.
  • In one day during the 2017-2018 school year, 108,623 school bus drivers across the country reported that 83,944 vehicles passed their stopped school buses illegally.

Winter driving statistics

7% of all vehicle crashes occur during winter conditions.

  • Icy roads cause about 156,000 crashes annually.
  • Weather-related vehicle accidents kill more people annually than large-scale weather disasters.
  • It takes up to 10 times longer to stop on snow and ice than it does on dry pavement.
  • Each year, 24% of weather-related vehicle crashes occur on snowy, slushy, or icy pavement and 15% happen during snowfall or sleet.
  • Over 1,300 Americans are killed and more than 116,000 are injured on snowy, slushy, or icy pavement every winter.
  • A four-wheel traction system can help a car get moving in snow and ice and provide extra control when turning, but it doesn’t help the vehicle stop much faster than a front- or rear-wheel-drive car. 
  • More than 70% of the nation’s roads are located in snowy regions, which receive more than five inches (or 13 cm) of average snowfall annually.
  • A great article on Worst States for Fatal Crashes in the Rain [2021 Study] that I’m featured in (near the bottom).  Very good information and statistics about driving in the rain.  

Teen accident statistics

Speed was a factor in 31% of US teen driver fatalities.

  • 91% of teen driver crashes are caused by teens aged 15-20 without driver education.
  • The most common types of teen crashes involve left-hand turns, running off the road, and rear-end events.
  • When a teen driving has an additional passenger with them, the risk of them getting into a fatal car crash goes up 50%.  If two or more passengers are present, the odds are five times as likely.
  • More than half of all motor vehicle crash deaths among teenagers occurred on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.
  • 20% of female teens and 24% of male teens who crash say they were distracted by a passenger before the crash occurred.
  • Newly licensed drivers are eight times more likely to crash or have a close call in the first three months after getting a license than during the last three months on a learner’s permit.
  • Student drivers steadily improved in the last three months before getting their driver’s licenses; by the end, teenage girls and boys alike were as safe as the adults in their rates of crashing or risky driving.
  • After they had a license to drive independently, however, teenagers’ rates of crashes and near misses shot up—and while girls’ crash rates then fell back, boys continued to drive unsafely.

Senior accident statistics

Senior drivers are more likely to hurt themselves than to put others at risk.

  • Senior drivers often try to mitigate their risk of injury by wearing safety belts, observing speed limits, and not drinking and driving.
  • In 2016, 18% of all traffic fatalities were among people 65 years and older.
  • Per mile traveled, fatal crash rates increase beginning at age 75 and rise sharply after age 80. 
  • Except for teen drivers, seniors have the highest crash death rate per mile driven, even though they drive fewer miles than younger people.
  • Since older drivers are more fragile, their fatality rates are 17 times higher than those of 25- to 64-year-olds.
  • Among drivers ages 80 and greater who were involved in fatal crashes in 2018, multiple-vehicle crashes accounted for 39% of fatal crashes, compared with 20% for drivers ages 16-59.
  • The rate of fatalities per capita among older people has decreased by 43% since 1975.
  • More than 3.5 million Americans 85 and older currently hold a driver’s license.
  • The fatality rate for drivers over 75 is more than five times higher than the average, and their injury rate is twice as high.

Trucking accident statistics

Truck collisions injure about 130,000 individuals each year.

  • 49 is the average age of a trucker.
  • 3,864 US fatal crashes involved trucks over 5 tons.
  • Crashes of large trucks accounted for 11% of all motor vehicle crash deaths in 2018.
  • Approximately 61% of all fatal US crashes involving large trucks occurred in rural areas, 27% occurred on Interstate highways, and 15% fell into both categories by occurring on rural Interstate highways.
  • 52% of deaths in large truck crashes occurred on major roads other than interstates and freeways, 33% occurred on interstates and freeways, and 14% occurred on minor roads. 37% of all fatal crashes, 23% of all injury crashes, and 20% of all property-damage-only crashes involving large trucks occurred at night (6:00 pm to 6:00 am) in 2018.
  • Weekdays (Monday – Friday) account for 84% of fatal crashes and 88% of nonfatal crashes involving large trucks.
  • 30% of US work zone fatal crashes and 12% of work zone injury crashes involved at least one large truck.
  • In 2016, when federal and state inspectors pulled commercial motor vehicles (such as buses and trucks) off the road for roadside inspections, they found that 4.92% of the drivers, 19.96% of the vehicles, and 3.96% of the hazardous materials cargoes (when present) had sufficient violations to require ordering the drivers or vehicles out of service.
  • Hazardous materials cargoes were present on 4% of the large trucks involved in fatal US crashes and 2% of those in nonfatal crashes.
  • Of the 3,500,000 truck drivers in the United States, 5.8% (just over 200,000) are women.
  • 80% of all cargo in America is transported by the trucking industry, four times as much as air (8%), pipeline (6%), rail (4%), and water (2%) combined.
  • Truck drivers log 432 billion miles annually.
  • Truck drivers work 70 hours in an 8-day work week before getting a day off vs. 47 hours per week for an average American.
  • US trucking consumes 54,000,000,000 gallons of fuel per year.
  • Driving a truck is the most common occupation in 29 states.
  • Truck driving is also the most dangerous occupation in America, with 28.3 fatal injuries per 100,000 full-time workers in 2018. Agriculture was in second place with 23.4 fatal injuries; fossil fuel extraction was in third place with 14.1 fatal injuries.
  • In 2017, the average annual pay for a US truck driver was $42,480 per year. 

Bus and other mass transportation accident statistics

Total annual car mileage saved by students riding school buses is 62.4 billion miles.

  • There were approximately 687,200 bus drivers employed in the United States in 2016.
  • Bus travel (all types: school bus, coach bus, and transit bus) is second only to commercial air travel in terms of safety. In the period 2000-2009, the numbers of US passenger fatalities per billion vehicle miles traveled were as follows:
    • Commercial aviation: 0.07 Bus: 0.11
    • Urban mass transit rail: 0.24
    • Commuter rail and Amtrak: 0.43
    • Local ferry boat: 3.17
    • Passenger car or light truck: 7.28
    • Motorcycle: 212.57 
  • In 1985, there were 7.53 fatal bus crashes per 100 million vehicle miles traveled. In 2017, there were just 1.33 fatal bus crashes. (In this context, a “bus” is defined as any motor vehicle that is designed to carry at least nine persons, including the driver.)
  • Every school bus on the road eliminates approximately 36 cars.
  • It would take over 17 million cars to transport all the students currently riding on all school buses in the United States.
  • Students are about 70 times more likely to get to school safely when taking a school bus instead of traveling by car.
  • The school bus industry the largest form of mass transit in the United States. 480,000 school buses carry 25 million children — more than half of America’s schoolchildren — each day.
  • Almost one-third of those who died were approaching or leaving the school bus.
  • Although four to six school-age children die each year on school transportation vehicles, that’s less than 1% of all traffic fatalities nationwide.
  • Most of those schoolchildren who are killed in school bus-related accidents are 5 to 7 years old. They are hit in the “danger zones” around the bus. These are the areas 10 feet in front of the bus, 10 feet behind it, and 10 feet to either side of it. The children are struck either by the school bus itself or by a passing vehicle, even though it is illegal for a vehicle to pass a school bus when its red lights are flashing. 

Taxi, ridesharing, and limo accident statistics

Taxi drivers suffer the highest murder rate of any occupation.

  • In May 2017, The median annual wage for taxi drivers, ride-hailing drivers, and chauffeurs was $24,880.
  • About 1 in 4 US taxi drivers, ride-hailing drivers, and chauffeurs worked part-time in 2016. 
  • There are 3 million Uber drivers worldwide. Of these drivers, 750,000 are based in the US, with the remaining 2.25 million working in the rest of the world.
  • In the United States, the average taxi logs 70,000 miles each year.
  • The majority of Uber drivers use the platform to supplement their main source of income. Nearly 50% earn less than $99 per month, and 84% earn less than $500. Only 2% of Uber drivers earn more than $1,500 per month, and none earn more than $2,000. 

RV accident statistics

10% of RV drivers are senior citizens over the age of 55

  • The Federal Motor Carrier Safety administration’s report in 2003 said that more than 70,000 people were involved in RV accidents that year. In 2012, they reported 75,000 injuries due to RV accidents.
  • A Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) analysis of data found that a total of 212 people died in RV accidents between 2000 and 2007.
  • At 26 deaths per year, the rate of RV deaths has an average fatality rate of 1/3 of the average rate of all vehicles or 0.44per 100 million vehicles miles versus 1.48 for all vehicles in the US.
  • Although some of these common causes of RV accidents overlap with causes of car accidents, they are exacerbated in an RV where sheer size plus reduced visibility and maneuverability increase the risk factors for a crash.
    • Inexperienced drivers
    • Senior drivers
    • Speeding
    • High winds
    • Overtired drivers
    • Overloading the RV with too much weight
    • Runaway trailers
    • Rollover caused by the higher center of gravity
    • Poorly calculated turns
    • Miscalculated stopping distances (heavy vehicles require longer stopping distances)
    • Poorly balanced loads
    • Failing to see another vehicle in the lane beside the RV due to a blind spot

Sources

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2 thoughts on “Vehicle Accident Statistics in the U.S. and Worldwide

  1. We need to consider this always, because on some cases fast action is required to avoid accidents. If you are stressed, better not to drive yourselve and use taxi instead.

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