Car crashes are a leading cause of death and injury in the United States. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were over 36,000 fatalities and millions of injuries resulting from car crashes in 2019 alone. Understanding car crash statistics can help us make informed decisions and take steps to stay safe on the road.
Every year, millions of car crashes occur in the United States. The frequency of car crashes varies by state and region. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), some states have higher crash rates than others due to factors such as population density, road conditions, and traffic congestion.
In 2019, California had the highest number of fatal car crashes with over 3,600 fatalities, followed by Texas. On the other hand, Vermont had the lowest number of fatal car crashes with only 69 fatalities.
Distracted driving, speeding, and drunk driving are among the leading causes of car crashes. Distracted driving has become a major concern in recent years with the rise of smartphones and other electronic devices. Texting while driving is particularly dangerous as it takes your eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, and mind off the task of driving.
Speeding is another major factor in many car crashes. According to the NHTSA, speeding was a contributing factor in 26% of all traffic fatalities in 2019. Even a small increase in speed can significantly increase the risk of a crash and the severity of injuries sustained.
Drunk driving and driving under the influence of drugs are also major contributors to car crashes. These behaviors are not only illegal but can have serious consequences. According to the NHTSA, alcohol-impaired driving accounted for 28% of all traffic fatalities in 2019.
According to the IIHS, speeding was a factor in 26% of all fatal crashes in 2019. Thinking twice before you speed can save lives and lower the total amount of accidents in the US overall. Even a small increase in speed can significantly increase the risk of a crash. For example, a study conducted by the NHTSA found that for every 1% increase in speed, there is a 4% increase in the likelihood of a crash and a 5% increase in the severity of injuries.
Distracted driving is a growing problem, with texting and other activities behind the wheel becoming more common. According to the NHTSA, distracted driving claimed the lives of 3,142 people in 2019 alone.
Texting while driving is particularly dangerous as it takes your eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, and mind off the task of driving. Sending or reading a text message takes your eyes off the road for an average of 5 seconds, which is equivalent to driving the length of a football field at 55 mph without looking.
Seat belts and other safety features can significantly reduce the risk of injury or death in a car crash. According to the NHTSA, seat belts saved an estimated 14,955 lives in 2017 alone.
Car crashes can have significant financial and emotional costs for those involved. The financial costs can include medical bills, vehicle repairs, lost wages, and legal fees. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the cost of car crashes in the United States exceeded $75 billion in 2017.
Car crashes can also have a profound emotional impact on those involved. The trauma of a car crash can lead to feelings of fear, anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These emotional consequences can have long-lasting effects on a person’s well-being and quality of life.
Remember, car crashes are preventable. By staying informed, practicing safe driving habits, and looking out for the safety of others on the road, we can all play a role in reducing the number of car crashes and saving lives.
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