If your senior parents are still driving, read this now


Car Accident Statistics 2019: are your elderly parents still driving?

Are your aging parents still driving? Read this.

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.

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 traffic accidents 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 NHTSA, 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 one 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 World 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 is 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 in 2017.
(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 over-represented in all traffic deaths. Every year about 5,000 people get killed on motorcycles.

18. There are almost42 million licensed drivers aged 65+ in the US
(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.

Does Being Involved in a Car Accident Affect Your Car Insurance 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.

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 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.

Thank you to carsurance.net  for providing this information.


Hello, my name is Nikola Djurkovic, and I'm the Editor in Chief here at carsurance.net. I’ve worked in the insurance industry as an assistant underwriter, and through my experience, I’ve discovered the inner workings of insurance policies, from quote to renewal—making me a real insurance guru. I’m passionate about helping other people navigate the complex structure of insurance coverage and understand its intricate terminology. I’m also an avid reader, movie/series binge-watcher, and nature enthusiast.

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