According to a recent Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) update, the number of fatal car crashes in the United States dipped below 30,000 for the year 2014, the latest year data has been reported. In short, as the nation’s population continues to grow, the rate of crashes keeps declining slightly.
- Men are, statistically, far more likely to be involved in a fatal accident. In 2014, they were involved in 2.5x the amount of fatalities.
- Seatbelts still matter! According to the report: “Unrestrained vehicle occupants are more likely than restrained occupants to be fatally injured in a crash, so belt use is much lower among fatally injured occupants.”
- Ages 20-29 and 70+ rate as the ranges when people most often die from a crash
Also of note is the part near the bottom regarding speeding. Specifically, the rate of fatal crashes is higher on minor roads – not interstates or other major roads, where you’d expect speeds and congestion to be higher.
The Auto Insurance Center has a great infographic detailing what caused the most fatalities on the road, broken out by state. In Georgia and South Carolina, it’s a failure to stay in a person’s given lane. In fact, both rank in the top five states that are most affected by drivers failing to stay in their lane. Drunken driving, texting while driving, and overall being distracted while driving are typical causes for this type of violation, which often has severe consequences.
So, why does all of this matter?
First, we can say the rate of fatal car crashes continues to go down – this is good news! As safety equipment continues to get better, drivers become more protected.
We also get a small reminder of the importance of seat belts. It still does heighten your risk if you don’t wear them.
Finally, although we naturally tend to be hyper-aware of our surroundings when major congestion fills a highway, very often we aren’t paying as much attention on lesser roads. As the numbers show, though, these lesser-traveled paths are the ones that often end up being more dangerous.