Some of the most significant costs that society incurs come from car accidents.
The first way we pay is in lives, as a massive number of people die in collisions every day. The second way is through economic loss. Even if somebody doesn’t lose their life in a crash, they could have hefty medical bills, damage to their property, and have to miss time from work.
Though you should be able to recover some money in a personal injury case, the optimal scenario is avoiding an accident in the first place. Ultimately, driving comes with a tremendous benefit, but it has its dark side too. We explain that dark side through 9 NHTSA statistics in the sections below.
Over 100 People Die in Car Accidents Every Day
Though 100 might not sound like much, think about the totality of it happening day after day. It doesn’t take long for the total number of fatalities to rise to considerable heights. These people are not nameless and faceless either, as almost every person in this country has either been in a serious accident themselves or knows somebody who has. The fact of the matter is that driving, despite being necessary, is one of the most dangerous things we do.
The Lesson: What you can take away from this statistic is that you should not take road safety lightly. That means following all best practices, including resisting phone use, not drinking and driving, going to speed limit, keeping your vehicle maintained, and much more. Though it may not feel like it in the moment, every choice you make is vital to keeping you safe. Choose wisely.
Roughly 30% of Those Deaths are Alcohol-Related
The most widespread public campaigns in our country are ones that fight against drunk driving. You may have wondered at some point why this issue is advertised against so much. Well, this statistic is your answer. It becomes even more powerful when you analyze it at a deeper level. First, ask yourself what percentage of total drivers are drunk. Though there is no reliable data on the subject, it is reasonable to assume that it is less than 10%. Next, look at the significant proportion of deaths are alcohol-related. Doing so will show you just how much more dangerous drunk drivers are than sober ones.
The Lesson: First, never drive drunk. You can help yourself do this by taking taxis, using rideshare services, assigning a designated driver, or never drinking at all. No matter how you do it, it is pivotal that you take an active approach to avoiding this costly behavior. Next, you can discourage your social group from drinking and driving by speaking up, asking people for their keys, or setting up rides for them. When it comes to drinking and driving prevention, a little goes a long way.
90.1% of Drivers Use Seatbelts
After two gloomy statistics, we can now talk about one that is more positive. What this number tells us is that the vast majority of drivers have committed to seatbelts and wear them regularly. Though we often talk about accident avoidance, they are sometimes inevitable. The best thing you can do to keep your collision from being lethal is wearing your seatbelt, and luckily, you probably do. Two of the top reasons for this trend are social campaigns and laws that urge drivers to adopt safe behaviors. Hopefully, our efforts to curb other forms of unsafe driving will be just as successful.
The Lesson: If you haven’t joined the majority of drivers that wear seatbelts, perhaps now is the time. Not only will doing so save you some money on tickets, but it could save your life. Additionally, this lesson isn’t all about you. Instead, the people around you will take notes of your behavior and might copy it. Being a good example is the best thing you can do for yourself and those that look up to you.
The Leading Cause of Death For 16-23 Year Olds is Car Crashes
Let’s break down why this particular age range is relevant. First, think about older age groups. Though they get into nearly as many fatal crashes, they also suffer from heart disease and cancer, two of the most prolific killers in the world. Second, realize that younger age groups are prone to dying from congenital disabilities, though they suffer car accidents frequently too. Lastly, understand that teens and young adults are some of the most reckless drivers on the road and should be watched out for. Ultimately, this statistic shows that when you control for disease, car accidents are the top killer in our country.
The Lesson: Your first takeaway is similar to some of our previous lesson. It is that you should take driving very seriously, as it is a notoriously dangerous activity. The second is that teen drivers, and those that look after them, should take extra care when on the road. That time of life is one with little regard for consequences, but a couple of honest conversations about safety can go a long way.
5,286 Motorcyclists Died in 2016
There are many excellent reasons to ride motorcycles. Among them are saving money, freedom, and the culture surrounding it. Unfortunately, doing so has consequences. The number of motorcyclists that died in 2016 is much fewer than automobiles, but the reason is how little riders there are. If you normalize the statistics, you find that motorcycles are much more dangerous. As you can probably assume, the reason is lack of protection. Riders are not encased in metal and outfitted with seatbelts and airbags. Instead, they take collisions much harder.
The Lesson: Don’t think that you, a motorcyclist, need to quit riding. Though the dangers are significant, it is perfectly reasonable to shoulder them and live your life as you please. The one lesson you can take away from this statistic is to be careful and defensive at all times, as risky maneuvers have even greater consequences for riders over drivers.
41% of Them Were Unhelmeted
The helmet issue has many parallels to seatbelts and drivers. Though wearing one is significantly safer than not, many riders still go without protection, and some pay the price. Another statistic that can hammer home the danger of this habit is the fact that only about 20% of riders don’t wear their helmets. Some simple math yields that being unhelmeted is twice as lethal as the opposite, and that doesn’t factor in traumatic brain injuries and other forms of damage.
The Lesson: As we explained above, riders should consider having some humility when on the road. One critical way they can do so is by wearing a helmet. Almost every injury to the body will heal eventually, but those that come above the neck are a different story. They will likely lead to a traumatic brain injury at best, and at worst, a fatality.
72% of Truck Accident Fatalities are Suffered by the Other Vehicle
You probably instinctively know that large trucks are dangerous, but you may not be able to put numbers to it. When you investigate the statistics, you confirm that these trucks are some of the most lethal hazards on the road. The primary reasons are size and weight. 18-wheelers and similar vehicles are often twenty times as much as a typical car, and the results can be disastrous if a collision occurs.
The Lesson: Your best bet for staying safe around trucks is to keep your distance from them, whether that be in front, far behind, or at least two lanes over. Doing so will allow you to avoid the primary dangers associated with these vehicles, which are wide turns, long stopping distance, and large blind spots.
Yearly Comprehensive Cost For Collisions: $836 Billion
One of the toughest things about economic analysis is grappling with complicated models. A relevant example is the total cost of car accidents. When experts try to make this calculation, they factor in every possible downside. Those include medical bills, property damage, lost wages, lost life, and much more. Despite how complex this task is, the NHTSA has done their best and come up with the number listed above.
The Lesson: When we talk about societal spending, it is usually in the context of government. What we rarely discuss are significant costs that happen every day right under our noses. One of them is car accidents, which we pay an impossibly large price for each and every year.
One thing we want to make clear is that we aren’t listing these statistics to scare you.
Instead, we seek to make readers realize just how much responsibility they take on when on the road. The solution to these issues is not to quit driving. Instead, it is to take care when you operate a vehicle and make sure you’re doing everything you can to keep yourself and other drivers safe. Though we, as injury lawyers, are here to help when things go wrong, what we want the most is for you to live a long and healthy life. Hopefully, with the help of some road safety education, you can do just that.