Auto Accident Statistics

Getting a Clear Picture of the True Effects of Car Accidents in the U.S.

Statistics pertaining to auto accidents can offer insight into the common causes of collisions and the effects that these have on Americans. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) offers particularly helpful statistics, and we will review some of these on this page. The NHTSA is committed to preventing traffic accidents and the serious injuries and economic losses these cause. The organization was established by the Highway Safety Act of 1970 to carry out various safety programs administered by the National Highway Safety Bureau.

We have highlighted a few key statistics pertaining to traffic collisions:

  • Statistical projections regarding the first quarter of 2011 (January through March) show that approximately 6,618 people lost their lives in traffic accidents throughout the U.S. This represents a slight decline of just under 1% from the first quarter of 2010.
  • According to early estimates of traffic fatalities in 2010, approximately 32,788 people lost their lives in auto accidents. This estimate represents a 3% decline from the number of fatalities the previous year.
  • 33,808 people lost their lives in auto accidents throughout the United States in 2009.
  • There were approximately 5.5 million police-reported accidents that same year, causing injury to more than 2.2 million people.
  • Approximately 3.9 million traffic accidents in 2009 involved property damage alone.
  • Of those who lost their lives in auto accidents in 2009, 72% were vehicle occupants (drivers and passengers), 13% were motorcyclists and 14% were pedestrians, cyclists and other non-occupants.
  • In 2009, there were 10,839 alcohol-related fatalities nationwide. An alcohol-related fatality is a death caused by an auto accident that involved a driver who had a blood alcohol concentration of .08% or greater, which is above the legal limit to operate a motor vehicle.
  • In 2008, more than 1.48 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence alcohol or drugs.
  • 10,591 people lost their lives in speeding-related auto accidents in 2009. This includes accidents were a driver was charged with a speeding-related offense or where an officer indicated that one of the drivers was traveling above the speed limit or too fast for current road, traffic or weather conditions.
  • 43% of drivers who were speeding in fatal auto accidents in 2009 had blood alcohol concentrations of .08% or greater.
  • From 1975 through 2009, the NHTSA estimates that seatbelts have saved the lives of nearly 268,000 drivers and passengers aged 5 and older.
  • Based upon statistics gathered in 2007, motor vehicle accident injuries were the leading cause of death for all ages from 3 through 5, 8, 9, and from 11 through 33.

If you would like to learn more about auto accidents, we welcome you to visit our Car Accident Information Center. You can also take advantage of our directory of attorneys throughout the U.S. who handle car accident claims and lawsuits, to locate an attorney who may be able to help with your particular questions or case.

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