The Chances of Getting in a Car Accident
Over the course of a lifetime, it is a good bet that Californians will be involved in some type of auto accident. Car crashes affect all road users. Drivers, pedestrians, motorcycle riders, bicyclists, and pedestrians can all be injured on the road.
But you might wonder: what are my chances of getting into a car accident? Learn more about auto accident rates in the United States and California, how car accidents compare to other causes of death, and the most common causes of death in car accidents that are fatal.
Car Accident Rates in the United States
According to the Insurance Institute For Highway Safety, there were more than 33 thousand fatal accidents in the United States in 2019. A total of 36,096 victims were killed in these accidents that year.
These numbers work out to about 11 deaths per 100,000 residents, and 1.11 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled. The fatality rate per hundred thousand residents was lowest in the district of Columbia (3.3) and highest in Wyoming (25.4).
The fatality rate per hundred million vehicle miles traveled was lowest in Massachusetts (.51) and highest in South Carolina (1.73). Texas had the highest number of car accident deaths that year at 3,615. Slightly more than half of these fatalities (53 percent) occurred in single-vehicle accidents.
But what does this mean for Californians? The numbers vary widely across the country, so it is helpful to take a closer look at the risk of being in an accident here in California.
Car Accident Rates in California
IIHS reports that California had the second-highest number of road deaths in 2019: at 3,606, our state was barely behind Texas in the raw number of fatalities. But it is important to consider the number of residents, and the number of miles traveled. California has significantly more residents (and therefore more vehicle miles are driven) than Texas.
This means that Texas’ fatality rate is actually significantly higher than the rate here in California. California’s fatality rate of 1.06 deaths per hundred million vehicle miles traveled was in the middle of the pack, as far as states’ fatality rates were concerned.
This does not, of course, mean that Californians are not at risk of being fatally injured in a motor vehicle accident. California had the highest number of overall fatal accidents in 2019 at 3,316. We also have more areas of heavy traffic and rural areas with high-speed limits – both of which are known risk factors for fatal accidents.
The overall message is that auto accidents cause death all across the United States. Drivers everywhere have a legal obligation to operate their vehicles with due care in order to avoid injuring others. When they do injure other road users through their own negligence, they have a legal obligation to compensate their victims for all the injuries and losses that are suffered as a result of that driver’s negligence.
How Car Accidents Compare To Other Causes of Death in California
In order to understand your odds of getting into a car accident, it can also be helpful to compare auto accident deaths to other causes of death here in California. The CDC reports that Californians are most likely to die from heart disease. After cancer, Alzheimer’s Disease, and strokes, accidents are the fifth leading cause of death in California.
(This includes both auto accidents and other types of accidents.) These figures might make it seem like auto accidents are not a very common problem. After all, more than 62 thousand Californians died of heart disease in 2019, compared with just 3,605 road fatalities. These numbers can paint a misleading picture.
When comparing these causes of death, it is important to realize just how preventable auto accidents are. Heart disease is a complex combination of genetics, environmental factors, other underlying medical conditions, and the fact that the heart is a muscle that becomes worn out after constantly pumping blood throughout the human body for fifty, sixty, or seventy years. By contrast, car crashes are preventable accidents.
These deaths occur because someone was negligent. Perhaps a driver chose to drive while drunk or impaired or while texting. These decisions cost lives. Heart disease might not be preventable, but many auto accidents are. This is why there is so much time, money, and effort invested into public awareness campaigns about the dangers of unsafe driving habits.
The Risk Factors For Car Accidents
It is not always possible to predict which car accidents will be fatal and which will not be. There are, however, certain factors that are known to increase the chances that car accident injuries will be fatal. These include speed, a lack of seatbelt use, and being ejected from the vehicle.
Other drivers are simply more likely to be involved in collisions than others. Decades of insurance claims data have allowed experts to identify these drivers as being at greater risk of causing accidents:
- Inexperienced drivers
- Those who speed
- Those who drive at night
- Following too closely or engaging in other risky behaviors
Some of these factors cannot be helped. But if you accept responsibility for following the speed limit, giving others space to pass, and enacting other safe driving habits, you can significantly reduce the risk that you will cause an auto accident. This will save you the time and money associated with insurance claims and traffic tickets. More importantly, safe driving saves lives.
Experienced Car Accident Attorneys Near You in California
The experienced legal team at Arash Law is close by, wherever you live in California. Our experienced car accident lawyers serve clients in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Riverside, San Jose, San Diego, Sacramento, Sherman Oaks, and throughout California. You don’t have to spend hours searching online for a “car accident lawyer near me.”
Our skilled injury attorneys have decades of experience, and we have collected over 200 million dollars for clients all across the state. Call (888) 488-1391 or complete our online intake form to schedule your free consultation. Clients throughout California have trusted our team to fight for their legal rights, and we will fight hard for you, too.