The Latest Crash and Casualty Figures for the USA

Because of the complexity of the subject, the finalized crash and casualty statistics for 2017 have just been released by NHTSA.

An overhead sign on the approach to a crash scene.  (Copyright image, 2019.)

In that year, in the USA, there were an estimated 6,452,000 police-reported traffic crashes, in which 37,133 people were killed and approximately 2,746,000 people were injured.

Put another way, this gives averages of:
>> 736 crashes reported to the police every hour (one every five seconds), 24-hours per day;
>> 102 people killed in U.S. road crashes every single day (more than four every hour);
>> 7,523 people injured in road crashes every single day (more than 313 every hour).

In addition, there were 10,874 alcohol-impaired-driving fatalities in 2017, which was 29 percent of all road deaths, a figure that is still far too high.

Fire crew clearing up after freeing a driver who was then transferred to hospital. (Copyright image, 2019.)

The figures given here are from Traffic Safety Facts – 2017 Data – Summary of Motor Vehicle Crashes, which was published in September 2019.

One pitfall we urge you to avoid, however, relates to the figures (Table 2 – top) and the map on page 4.  Don’t assume that because the figures are low — from 0.56 to 1.93 — the problem is small.  That is not the case but this psychological effect of such low numbers is unique to the USA.  Only America uses deaths-per-100,000 miles, which is known as the Vehicle Miles Travelled [VMT] rate.  Every other country uses deaths per one billion vehicle-kilometres, which is naturally a much higher figure and doesn’t create the same misleading effect of this deadly issue being one-point-something.

If you wish to see how America performs by comparison with other developed nations — and regrettably the answer is not well at all — you can find a relevant article here.



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