The Statistics of Car Crashes Based On Where You Live and How Old You Are


Have you ever stopped to consider your chances of being involved or injured in a car crash? People generally don’t expect to be in an accident or think much about whether it will happen to them.

Research by groups like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, insurance companies and even some local law firms, such as San Diego’s, have uncovered some interesting and sometimes surprising information on how car crash statistics vary based on your age and location.

First, a couple of national averages for comparison:

  • The average driver in the United States is involved in a car accident once every 10 years.
  • Chance of death as a result of a car crash is the lowest it has been since at least 1975 with only 10.4 deaths by motor vehicle accident per 100,000 people in the population.
  • Teen drivers or senior drivers – which ones are safer?

  • Teens between the ages of 16 and 19 are almost 3 more likely to be in a fatal car crash compared to drivers over 20 years old. The younger half of this set fares even worse with 16 and 17-year-olds being twice as likely to be in a fatal crash as 18 and 19-year-olds.
  • Teens make up only about 10% of the U.S. population but account for 11% of motor vehicle deaths.
  • Among older drivers – those over the age of 65 – fewer than 1% will be involved in a car accident making traffic fatalities a fairly uncommon cause of death for this population.
  • Older drivers make up about 15% of the driving population and about 15% of traffic fatalities.
  • 56% of motorcycle fatalities occurred in riders over the age of 40 with an average age of 42 for motorcycle fatalities. 22% of the riders involved in these fatal crashes were not properly licensed.
  • Are you safer as an urban or rural driver?

  • More car accidents happen in rural areas than in cities with 54% of all accidents and 56% of fatal car accidents being recorded on rural roads. Considering only 19% of the population lives in rural areas, this is a significant difference.
  • Speeding plays a similar role in accidents in both rural and urban areas with speed being a factor in 31% and 30% of car crashes in these areas respectively.
  • Motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of death in children under 14 with an average of 469 injuries and 3 deaths among this group daily.
  • Which cities are “safest” and “least safe” when it comes to car crashes?

  • Fort Collins, Colorado drivers are the least likely to be in a car accident with an average of 13.9 years between accidents, nearly 30% lower than the national average.
  • Drivers in Washington, D.C. are involved in an accident every 4.8 years on average, more than twice as often as the national average.
  • Driving in the largest city in the country, New York City, will increase your chances of being in an accident by 37.8% to once every 7.3 years.
  • All of these statistics give some ideas of relative chances of being involved in a car accident but they make no guarantees. Don’t become one of the statistics. Stay safe when you drive by using proper restraints, not driving while impaired or distracted, and always obeying local driving laws.


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