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Motor Vehicle Accident and Injury Fact Sheet

Jun 11, 2021

The Prevalence of Motor Vehicle Injuries and Fatalities in the U.S.

Although the latest statistics from the National Safety Council show that motor vehicle crash deaths have decreased, too many lives are still being lost. In 2019, there were 39,107 crash fatalities. Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for people between the ages of 4 and 12 and 14 to 22. While these numbers may be startling, it’s critical to understand how motor vehicle accidents occur, the risk factors, and how drivers can stay safe during their travels. Here are the eye-opening statistics every driver needs to know.

Crash Fatalities by Age Group

Sadly, in 2019, motor vehicle crash fatalities saw a spike for the 25 - 44 age group. The lowest group of crash fatalities were for children under 5 years. The following number of deaths for all age groups in 2019 are as follows:

  • 0-4 years of age: 435 deaths
  • 5-14 years of age: 847 deaths
  • 15 - 24 years of age: 6,031 deaths
  • 25-44 years of age: 12,204 deaths
  • 45-64 years of age: 11,091 deaths
  • 65 - 74 years of age: 4,132 deaths
  • Over 75 years of age: 4,367 deaths

The above statistics include all types of motor vehicle crashes, including:

  • Collisions between motor vehicles
  • Collisions with fixed objects
  • Collisions with bicycles
  • Collisions with pedestrians
  • Collisions with railroad trains

The 75 and older group had the highest rate of pedestrian fatalities at 3.6 compared to the average death rate of 2.3 (per 100,000 population).

Fatalities by Crash Type

According to 2018 data, collisions between a motor vehicle and a fixed object accounted for 27% of deaths, which came in second behind collisions between motor vehicles at 42%. Total motor vehicle deaths in 2018 were 39,404. Fatal crashes with other motor vehicles occurred in the following types:

  • Angle collisions: 7,400 (44.6%)
  • Head-on collisions: 4,900 (29.5%)
  • Rear-end collisions: 3,000 (18.1%)
  • Sideswipe and other two-vehicle collisions: 1,300 (7.8%)

Injuries due to motor vehicle crashes came in at an alarming 4,500,000. Here’s a breakdown:

  • Crashes with other motor vehicles: 3,550,000 (78.9%)
  • Fixed or other object: 557,000 (12.4%)
  • Pedestrian crashes: 150,000 (3.3%)
  • Bicycle crashes: 100,000 (2.2%)
  • Animal or animal-drawn vehicle: 22,000 (.5%)

Non-collision crashes accounted for 120,000 injuries (2.7%). These types of crashes are ones in which someone was injured while operating a vehicle but was not struck in any way. Some examples of a non-collision accident are:

  • Mechanical failures
  • Falling objects
  • Fire/explosion
  • Driving off the road
  • Rollovers while making a fast turn

Crash Fatalities and Distracted Drivers

Over 90% of motor vehicle accidents are caused by human error — and distracted driving is one of the most significant contributors. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that in 2019, 3,142 people lost their lives due to distracted drivers, increasing from 2,841 deaths in 2018. The bottom line is that distracted driving accidents are preventable.

The following statistics (2018) reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) demonstrate how problematic distracted driving is in the U.S. and that there is much work to be done to spread awareness about the dangers of these types of driving behaviors.

  • Approximately 400,000 people were injured in distracted driving crashes
  • Roughly 1 in 5 of the people who died in distracted driving crashes was:
    • Walking
    • Riding bicycles
    • Outside of a vehicle
  • 25% of fatal distracted driving crashes involved young adults (age 20 - 29 years)
  • Drivers between the ages of 15 and 19 years old are more likely to be distracted drivers than drivers over the age of 20
  • 8% of drivers between the ages of 15 and 19 years old were distracted at the time of the crash

Every year, about 3,000 people die in distracted driving crashes. Here’s how every driver can reduce their risk of being involved in a distracted driving accident:

  • Use cell phones in emergencies only (don’t answer calls or text while driving)
  • Avoid eating and drinking while driving
  • Refrain from grooming while driving (putting on makeup, combining hair)
  • Avoid playing with the radio/GPS devices while operating your vehicle
  • Pull over or find a place to sleep if you are feeling drowsy while driving
  • Avoid rubbernecking (looking at something outside of your vehicle that takes your eyes off of the road)

Another form of distracted driving is tending to other passengers in your vehicle. A good example is having children in the back seat. If your children need your attention while driving, pull over to a safe spot on the side of the road to tend to their needs. Taking your eyes off the road for mere seconds can increase your risk of being involved in a severe motor vehicle crash.

Injured in a Car Crash? We’re Here to Help.

After a devastating car crash, not only is it critical to seek medical attention, but it’s also essential to have an experienced team of attorneys in your corner to protect your rights. Our lawyers are highly skilled in matters regarding personal injury law, and we have helped many other people just like you. We are here to support you every step of the way and help you get through a difficult time. When a careless driver caused your injuries, we’re here to hold them accountable for their actions and get you the compensation you deserve.

Contact Peterson & Associates, P.C. today at (816) 298-8708 to speak with an attorney about your potential case.

Data Sources:

National Safety Council - Injury Facts

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Categories: Auto Accidents

Contact Our Law Firm for a Free Consultation

Peterson & Associates, P.C. provides free consultations when you call or contact us online.

Our law office is located in Kansas City, Missouri at:

Missouri’s Country Club Plaza
801 W. 47th Street, Suite 107
Kansas City MO 64112

We do not charge our personal injury clients a fee unless their case is won, so there is no fee unless we win your case. Get in touch with us today as the first step in your pursuit of justice!

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