How many people die in car accidents? While the answer should be “zero,” this unfortunately is not the case. Each year, far too many people die in car accidents, and far too many families are forced to cope with the tragedy of losing a loved one too soon.
Fatal car accidents should not happen. If everyone drove safely, if car manufacturers all manufactured safe vehicles without defects, and if repair shops and road contractors didn’t make mistakes, then there would be far fewer fatal car accidents than there are today. Unfortunately, this is not the case, and the answer to the question, “How many people die in car accidents?” is much higher than it should be.
- How Many People Die in Car Accidents?
- How Many People Die in Car Accidents Involving Drunk Drivers?
- Car Accident Death Statistics By State
- More Notable Fatal Car Accident Statistics
According to December 2020 data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 36,096 people died in car accidents in 2019. As the NHTSA notes, “This represents a 2.0-percent decrease from 36,835 fatalities in 2018, or 739 fewer fatalities.” But, while the numbers might be trending in the right direction, approximately 100 deaths per day is still far too many.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reports that the 36,096 deaths in 2019 resulted from 33,244 fatal collisions. More than a third of these accidents (34 percent) involved passenger cars, and another 28 percent involved light trucks. Twenty percent of all fatal car accidents involve pedestrians and cyclists, while the remaining 18 percent involve motorcyclists (14 percent) and large trucks and buses (4 percent).
So, to more-specifically answer the question, “How many people die in car accidents?”, the data from the NHTSA and IIHS suggest that 12,273 car drivers and passengers (34 percent of 36,096) died in fatal collisions in 2019.
Drunk driving is among the leading causes of car accidents in the United States. According to the NHTSA, nearly 30 percent (10,142) of all fatal car accidents in 2019 involved “alcohol-impaired driving fatalities.” This represented a 5.3 percent drop in alcohol-related fatalities from 2018, when 10,710 people died in drunk driving crashes.
In a handful of states, the rate of fatal drunk driving crashes is significantly higher. For example, based on the NHTSA’s data:
- In Connecticut, 38 percent of fatal car accidents in 2019 involved drunk drivers.
- In New Hampshire, 40 percent of fatal car accidents in 2019 involved drunk drivers.
- In North Dakota, 41 percent of fatal car accidents in 2019 involved drunk drivers.
- In Rhode Island, 44 percent of fatal car accidents in 2019 involved drunk drivers.
- In Texas, 37 percent of fatal car accidents in 2019 involved drunk drivers.
In addition to drunk driving accidents, overall deadly car accident rates vary from state to state. In terms of how many people die in car accidents per state, rates vary in terms of both percentage of population and percentage of miles traveled. As the IIHS summarizes, “The fatality rate per 100,000 people ranged from 3.3 in the District of Columbia to 25.4 in Wyoming. The death rate per 100 million miles traveled ranged from 0.51 in Massachusetts to 1.73 in South Carolina.”
According to the NHTSA and IIHS, the states with the highest car accident fatality rates are:
Per 100,000 Population
- Wyoming (25.4)
- Mississippi (21.6)
- New Mexico (20.2)
- South Carolina (19.4)
- Montana (17.2)
- Arkansas (16.7)
- Tennessee (16.6)
- Kentucky (16.4)
- Oklahoma (16.2)
- Louisiana (15.6)
Per 100 Million Miles Traveled
- South Carolina (1.73)
- Mississippi (1.56)
- New Mexico (1.53)
- Kentucky (1.48)
- Wyoming (1.44)
- Oklahoma (1.43)
- Montana (1.43)
- Louisiana (1.43)
- Florida (1.41)
- Arizona (1.40)
Based on NHTSA and IIHS data, the states with the lowest car accident fatality rates are:
Per 100,000 Population
- Washington D.C. (3.3)
- Massachusetts (4.8)
- New York (4.8)
- Rhode Island (5.4)
- New Jersey (6.3)
- Minnesota (6.5)
- Washington (6.8)
- Connecticut (7.0)
- New Hampshire (7.4)
- Vermont (7.5)
Per 100 Million Miles Traveled
- Massachusetts (0.51)
- Minnesota (0.60)
- Washington D.C. (0.61)
- Vermont (0.64)
- New Jersey (0.71)
- New Hampshire (0.73)
- New York (0.75)
- Rhode Island (0.75)
- Utah (0.75)
- Connecticut (0.79)
The NHTSA and IIHS have publishes some additional notable statistics regarding fatal car accidents in the United States. While the good news is that fatal car accidents currently appear to be on the decline and certain high-risk driving practices are becoming less prevalent, the bad news is that we still have a long way to go before deadly car accidents are no longer an issue. Consider the following:
- How many people die in car accidents involving distracted drivers? According to the NHTSA, 8.7 percent (3,142) of all car accident deaths in 2019 involved distracted driving. This includes accidents in which the driver was talking on the phone, texting, using social media, and engaging in other non-driving activities behind the wheel.
- How many people die in car accidents involving drowsy drivers? According to the NHTSA, 697 people died in drowsy driving accidents in 2019. Like drunk driving and distracted driving accidents, these accidents are entirely preventable.
- How many people die in car accidents involving teen drivers? According to the NHTSA, accidents involving teen and young adult drivers are on the decline. Since 2010, these accidents have decreased by nearly seven percent, while fatal accidents involving drivers over the age of 65 have increased by 36.5 percent.
- How many people die in car accidents involving a single vehicle? According to the IIHS, more than half (53 percent) of all fatal car accidents are single-vehicle crashes.
- How many people who die in car accidents are wearing a seatbelt? According to the IIHS, “fatally injured occupants [are] approximately half as likely to have been restrained compared with the nationwide average.”
Are you or your loved ones have been victims of a car accident? You should contact a lawyer online now through CarAccidentSource.com, and you should work with your lawyer to make sure you do everything necessary to maximize your financial recovery.