International & US Car Statistics (Revised for 2021)


Car accidents are the leading cause of deaths in the United States and internationally. According to official car accident stats, more than 38,800 people lost their lives in car accidents in 2019. Although the 2019 number was down 2% from 39,404 for the previous year of 2018. Surprisingly, even with the COVID-19 situation beginning from December 2019, the number of motor vehicle fatalities increased in the year 2020 in the United States to an all-time high of 42,060.

There was an 8% increase in the number of motor vehicle fatalities in 2020 in comparison to the previous year. There is no doubt that motor vehicle safety is a top priority for drivers, pedestrians, and the government officials and authorities responsible to ensure safety on the roads. Here we look at some international and United States car accident statistics from organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), World Health Organization (WHO), and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

International Car Accident Statistics

   1. How many fatalities occur internationally due to car accidents?

   a. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 1.35 million fatalities occur internationally due to vehicle accidents on the road annually. That means that approximately 3,700 fatalities occur every day and this is the reason why road accidents are one of the leading causes of death for children and adults between the ages of 5 and 29 all over the world.

  b. The male members of society between the ages of 5 and 25 are more susceptible to becoming a casualty because of a road traffic accident. These males include 73% of all deaths occurring worldwide.

 c. Almost 20 to 50 million people suffer consequential injuries possibly leading to a permanent disability. On average a country’s 3% of gross domestic product (GDP) is the amount of cost for road traffic accidents.

 d. Libya has the highest number of fatalities at 73.4 deaths annually for every 100,000 residents.

 e. The United Kingdom can be considered as one of the safest places to drive with only 2.8 deaths annually due to car crashes for every 100,000 residents.

United States Car Accident Statistics

  1. How many fatalities occur in the United States due to car accidents?

  a. In 2018, there were a total of 39,404 fatalities due to car accidents

  b. In 2019, there were 2% fewer fatalities at 38,800, in comparison to the previous year.

 c. The National Safety Council (NSC) presents preliminary estimates of the number of fatalities that occurred in 2020 as 42,060. This number represents an 8% increase in the number of fatalities in comparison to the previous year.

 d. The increase in the number of fatalities in 2020 is the highest annual increase in the last 96 years, that is the highest annual increase since 1924.

 e. Saturday is the day the most fatal car accidents occur, which is around 6,104 car accidents according to a car accident attorney.

 f. 58% of fatal accidents involved only one vehicle based on police reports.

 g. There were 38% fatal car accidents that involved more than one vehicle. Vehicles frequently crashed into each other at an angle.

 h. 48% of fatal car accidents occurred at night, out of these 41% of accidents occurred in dark but artificially illuminated driving conditions.

Vehicle Speeding Statistics

 1. Aggressive driving and speeding is the main cause of more than 50% of the 5 million car accidents annually. (TeenSafe, 2018)

 2. The cost of speeding-related crashes is approximately $ 40.4 billion annually to American residents. (Insurance Information Institute)

 3. 31% of US teenage driver deaths are because of speeding.

 4. Teens are more inclined to speeding and tailgating (following the driver in front too closely) in comparison to older drivers

 5. A majority of the drivers speed at least 10mph more than the speed limit more often than not.

 6. A 10 mph increase in speed above the speed limit increases the chance of a car accident by at least 9.1%

 7. Most car accidents that occurred due to speeding (32% and 22%) were in the demographic of drivers between the ages of 15 and 20.

 8. Speeding is the main cause of fatal accidents on the highway.

 9. Speeding was the main cause of 48% of single-vehicle motorcycle accidents

10. Speeding was the main cause of 203 fatal car accidents in 2017 that occurred in work zones.

Winter Driving Statistics

 1. The number of annual car crashes that occur on icy or snowy roads is 156,000.

 2. The winter weather conditions are when 17% of all car accidents take place.

 3. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) reduces the speed limits on the freeways by approximately 5% to 40% in heavy snowfall and 3% to 13% during light snow.

 4. There are more victims of car accidents caused by weather events than there are victims of weather event.

 5. More than 70% of the country’s roads are situated in snowy territories that get more than 5 inches (13 cm) of average yearly snowfall.

 6. The time to stop on snow or ice is ten times longer than the time it takes to stop a vehicle on dry pavement.

 7. Four-wheel drive traction control systems in vehicles can help a vehicle get moving right along much faster in ice or snow in comparison to a front-wheel or rear-wheel-drive vehicle. But the four-wheel-drive traction control system does not necessarily mean that it will stop faster than a front-wheel or rear-wheel drive vehicle in snowy or icy conditions.

 8. The cost of deicing pays off in a trivial 25 minutes after the salt is scattered.

Pedestrian Safety Statistics

 1. The number three cause of pedestrian fatalities was being distracted by an electronic device.

 2. Almost 74% of pedestrian fatalities occur in the evening. Out of those, 72% of the pedestrian fatalities occur because the pedestrians are not crossing on the pedestrian crosswalk.

 3. Approximately 47% of the pedestrian fatalities that occurred had some connection with alcohol, either for the driver or the pedestrian.

 4. 20% of pedestrian deaths were pedestrians over the age of 65.

 5. The District of Columbia has the highest number of car accidents with pedestrian fatalities at a rate of 35%. North Dakota has the lowest number of car accidents with pedestrian fatalities at a rate of just 4%.