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Deadly Car Accidents

Deadly car accidents are so often a result of human error

Long before Princess Diana or James Dean were killed in fatal car accidents, America had a love/hate relationship with the automobile. We need our cars and use them daily, but we never quite forget that the large machines we handle so casually are capable of taking life. This article takes a look at fatal car crashes. How many people die each year, who are they, and what risk factors do they have?

Who Dies?

Around 40,000 Americans are killed each year in deadly car accidents.

Drivers are more than twice as likely to die as their passengers. After drivers and passengers, the third group of people most commonly killed is pedestrians, followed by bicyclists.

More than half (around 57%) of car crashes with fatalities involve a single vehicle.

Risk Factors

It is estimated that about 40% of fatal car crashes involve at least one driver under the influence of alcohol. Thirty percent involve exceeding the posted speed limit. Still another 30% involve reckless driving or losing control of the car. Some of the more extreme car accidents with fatalities involve all of these factors.


In about half of all car wrecks with fatalities, the driver was not wearing a seatbelt. Wearing a seatbelt can be life saving for two reasons. First, it prevents the one from being flung through the windshield or impaled on the steering column. Second, it keeps the driver in the driver’s seat and behind the steering wheel so that there is a chance to regain control of the car and minimize the damage from the accident.

About 25% of car accidents with fatalities involved the use of cell phones or text messaging devices.

As long as we drive cars, deadly car accidents will continue to fascinate and horrify us. Getting the facts about fatal car crashes is not just an exercise in being morbid, however. Knowing the facts can help us identify risk factors and become safer drivers who are less likely to be involved in traffic fatalities.

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