Home Car Accident Statistics in The U.S. – 2020 Update

Car Accident Statistics in The U.S. – 2020 Update

by Nikola Djurkovic

Did you know that automobile accidents are the leading cause of death among healthy U.S. citizens? Drivers who sustain fatal injuries in a single year are measured in the tens of thousands, and nearly 2.5 million are seriously hurt or permanently disabled. Statistics show that these numbers have been rising in recent years despite improvements in automobile safety features. The United States has more than 220 million licensed drivers, and they risk their lives every time they enter an automobile as driver or passenger.

You can improve the odds for yourself, your passengers, and others. For starters, it is extremely important to purchase the proper auto insurance. Many health insurance policies don’t cover treatment for injuries sustained in automobile accidents. To ensure that you, your passengers, and everyone else involved receives proper treatment after an accident, make sure your auto insurance covers bodily injury and medical treatments. Our team has thoroughly analyzed the U.S. insurance company market; our comprehensive reviews can help you choose the most reliable package with the best coverage options.

Also, take a look at our infographic, which provides an extensive overview of auto accident statistics in the United States. The data is interesting, and we think it can be a highly useful guide to taking precautions and reducing the chances of getting involved in an accident.

Interested in how many car accidents happen per year in the U.S.? Check out the stats below – and drive safely!

Car Accident Statistics – Highlights

  • Over 40,000 fatal car accidents per year in the U.S.
  • Each day, more than 90 Americans die in car accidents.
  • On average, 2 million drivers experience a permanent injury every year.
  • Almost 8,000 people are killed in traffic accidents involving drivers aged 16-20.
  • The most common causes of death on the road are drunk driving (40%), speeding (30%), and irresponsible driving (33%).
  • Some 58% of fatal car accidents involve only one vehicle, and 38% are caused by a traffic collision.
  • When it comes to fatal car accidents by state, most occurred in Texas and California during 2018.
  • According to the statistics, most fatal injuries happen during weekends.  
  • Each year, more than 1,600 children younger than 15 die in traffic accidents.

Jump to infographic

Global Car Accident Statistics


1. Approximately 1.24 million people die in car crashes annually worldwide. 

Additionally, automobile accidents are the leading cause of death among those between 15 and 29 years old. (Source: World Health Organization)

2. Libya is the world leader in terms of car accident deaths.

With 73.4 deaths per 100,000 people annually, this country has more than twice as many fatalities as the second-place country, Thailand, which has 36.2. Malawi is a close third with 35 deaths annually. (Source: World Atlas)

3. The United Kingdom has the fewest car accident deaths per year out of all EU countries. 

With just 2.8 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants annually, the UK is one of the safest countries for driving in the world. The second least dangerous country in the EU is Denmark, with just 3 deaths per 100,000 people annually. (Source: European Commission)

4. Approximately half of the people killed in road accidents are pedestrians, cyclists, or motorcycle drivers.

Motorcycle deaths are particularly prominent in Southeast Asia and the Pacific countries. Approximately 33% of all road accident fatalities are motorcycle drivers in these regions. (Source: World Atlas)

5. Surprisingly, middle-income countries have the highest rates of road traffic deaths, at 20.1 per 100,000 inhabitants annually.

Low-income countries are a close second, with 18.3 deaths annually, while high-income countries have a considerably better record, with just 8.7 deaths annually. Perhaps it’s the high number of low-quality, unsafe vehicles that puts middle-income countries on top. (Source: World Health Organization)

US Car Accident Statistics


1. The yearly cost of traffic accidents in the United States is estimated to be $871 billion.

(Source: Safer America) A study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has shown that the cost of traffic accidents is almost $900 billion on an annual basis. The current figure is probably even higher, since the survey was carried out in 2010.

2. Reportedly, 1.6 million car crashes were caused by cell phone use while driving.

(Source: Edgarsnyder.com) The National Safety Council reports that cell phone use while driving causes approximately 1.6 million car crashes in the U.S. every year. In other words, 1 out of every 4 car accidents is caused by driving and texting at the same time.

3. Every 50 minutes, a person dies because of driving under the influence of alcohol.

(Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) According to 2016 Road Safety Facts data provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 29 people die every day in automotive crashes caused by drunk drivers.

4. It is estimated that seat belts saved almost 15,000 lives in 2017.

(Source: nhtsa.gov) It seems that the average American is well-aware about the risk of not wearing a seat belt. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that during 2016, 89.6% of drivers were properly buckled up.

5. Drivers aged 16 to 19 are three times more likely to be involved in car crashes than older drivers.

(Source: Safety Resource Center) Car accident statistics by age are clear. A study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shows that teenage drivers are at greater risk than elderly people. Some 12.2% of car accidents are the responsibility of teen drivers, while 7.5% were caused by drivers over 65, according to the United States Census Bureau.

Car Accident Statistics Infographic

6. Men are more likely to die in a car accident than women.

(Source: allenandallen.com) During 2015, there were about 25,000 fatal car crashes involving male drivers, and about 10,000 caused female road traffic deaths. On average, men drive 30% more miles annually than women. Additionally, men are more likely to have driving-related jobs.

7. The most common cause of road deaths in the United States is distracted driving.

(Source: Strongtieinsurance.com) Distracted drivers cause more traffic accidents than people who are speeding, driving under the influence of alcohol or road rage. Some of the most common causes are using a mobile phone, eating, or drinking coffee while driving.

8. Road traffic injuries and deaths are statistically most likely to happen on Saturdays.  

(Source: avvo.com) According to the most recent statistics, the first day of the weekend is the most dangerous day to drive, primarily because of increased traffic. When it comes to working days, the risk is highest at rush hour, between 5 and 6 p.m.

9. Only 1 of 31 car models in the U.S. has adequate headlights for safe driving.

In 2016, National Highway Safety Insurance Institute has examined the headlights of 31 midsize car models, and only one met the institute’s safety criteria. Even the luxury, such as Acuras, models received low scores.

10. The Word Health Organization ranks US highways as significantly more dangerous than highways in most Northern European countries.

(Source: Popular Mechanics) How many U.S. fatal car accidents occur on highways? The death rate is three times higher than in the UK — 11 deaths per 100,000 population on an annual basis. Arizona’s I-10 highway is considered the most dangerous.

11. When it comes to a fatal car accident, men are two times more likely than women to have been driving under the influence.

(Source: gorelick-law.com) According to a 2016 NHTSA survey, almost 75% of DUI-related traffic accidents involve male drivers. Only 14% of women who were driving-impaired had higher alcohol levels in their blood than considered safe (more than 0.08%).

12. Motor-vehicle crashes are one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. among minors aged 1 to 19.

(Source: U.S. News) Out of 20,360 deaths among children in 2016, more than 4,000 lives were lost because of car accidents. More than 128,000 were injured. The data was presented by the University of Michigan Injury Prevention Center based on statistics provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

13. Drivers and passengers are the most common victims of road accidents.

(Source: Aceable) Some 70% of those injured and killed due to traffic accidents are located inside the vehicle. The other 30% are motorcyclists or pedestrians. The greatest risk, as well as responsibility, is on drivers.

14. More than 90% of all car crashes in the US involve driver error.

(Source: crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov) The National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Survey (NMVCCS) was conducted from 2005 to 2007 with the aim of identifying the crucial factors that lead to motor vehicle crashes. According to their automobile accident stats, fewer than 10% of accidents are caused by vehicle defects, the environment, and unknown reasons.

15. Although passenger car crashes happen more often than truck crashes, the latter are more serious.

(Source: personalinjurylawyersaustintx.com) An automotive crash involving a truck is more likely to cause serious injuries than a crash involving only passenger cars. Since transport vehicles outweigh passenger vehicles up to 30 times, the force of the impact is greater. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has reported that 70% of the people who die in truck crashes are occupants of other vehicles, rather than the truck.

16. Using a cellphone while driving contributed to more than 800 U.S. traffic deaths.

(Source: Green Car Congress) A 2018 survey conducted by IIHS showed that drivers are 57% more likely to use a cellphone than drivers who answered the same question in 2014.

17. Despite the declining trend, deaths caused by motorcycle crashes are 28 times more frequent than other fatal traffic crashes.

(Source: Governors Highway Safety Association) Although there was a 5.6% decrease in motorcycle fatalities in 2017 compared to the previous year, motorcyclists are still significantly overrepresented in all traffic deaths. Every year about 5,000 people get killed on motorcycles.

18. There were almost 42 million licensed drivers aged 65+ in the United States in 2016.

(Source: Federal Highway Administration) The risk of getting involved in a car accident increases as people get older, so the percentage of drivers older than 65 significantly influences overall traffic safety. During 2016, almost 300,000 elderly drivers were treated in hospitals for vehicle crash injuries in the United States, and about 7,400 were killed.

19. In 2010 alone, more than 1.4 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics.

(Source: bactrack.com) This figure represents just 1% of the 112 million adults who, according to their own confession, were driving under the influence each year. Approximately 28 people die every day as a result of drunk driving.

20. Only 5% of parents correctly place their child in their vehicle’s infant safety seat.

(Source: The Journal of Pediatrics) A recent study published in the Journal of Pediatrics covered about 300 parents aged between 25 and 34. It showed that most parents don’t know how to properly install the infant seat. Jump to infographic

Does Being Involved in a Car Accident Affect Your Rates?

If you caused the accident and the party made a claim against you, the answer is as clear as day: your premium will increase. If you have 1–3 at-fault accidents on your record, you’ll likely pay 40%–60% more.

However, even if you didn’t cause the accident, your premium may rise. Yes, you read that correctly—even if the other driver was 100% at fault, if you file a claim, you’ll pay more for insurance at renewal. The more affordable insurers, like Progressive and GEICO, tend to jack up rates the most. According to research by ConsumerFed, the former will increase your rates by 16.6%, while the latter will increase them by 14.1%. Nonetheless, the states of Oklahoma and California have banned this practice. 

If you’re interested in learning how your driving record impacts your rates, check our car insurance calculator. It’s a fast and easy way to get car insurance estimates and discover how insurance companies calculate premiums.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many people die in car accidents?

It’s estimated that around 37,000 people die in automobile accidents annually in the US alone. On a global level, the number of deaths is about 1.24 million per year. 

Which state has the most car accidents?

Florida and Tennessee have the highest number of car crashes annually. However, the majority of fatalities occurred in Texas and California

What is the main cause of car accidents?

The leading cause is distracted driving. Common examples include using a mobile phone, eating, or drinking a beverage while driving. Other frequent factors are lack of driving experience, driving under the influence, and speeding.

Where do the most car accidents happen in the US?

The most common places where car accidents occur are parking lots, rural highways, stop signs, and two-lane roads. Additionally, many accidents happen during rush hour and in intersections. 

What are the chances of getting into a car accident?

Since there are approximately 328.8 million people in the US, and about 2.35 million become injured in a car accident annually, the chances are very low. To be precise, the odds that you’ll get injured while driving are 0.7% in a single year.


Leave a Comment


JM October 29, 2019 - 9:21 pm

“The most common causes of accidents resulting in death are drunk driving (40%), speeding (30%), and irresponsible driving (33%).” –》NO, those are NOT accidents! They are totally preventable AND avoidable. Try using “crash” instead of accident. Responsible reporting.

Andrea Hernandez December 26, 2019 - 12:12 pm

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