Legal Guide

How Many People Die From Car Accidents Each Year?

The global car accident toll on human life stands at approximately 1.3 million each year. In the United States, this number has almost always surpassed the 30,000 mark since 1975. 

There has been a notable reduction in deaths in the last decade, but America registered an uptick during and after the pandemic, with 42,000 people losing their lives in 2021. Luckily, 2022 figures look slightly more promising, and the downward trend will likely continue.

Who Is at Risk

"Car accidents are indiscriminate; they can happen to anyone anytime. However, statistics show that some factors can affect a person's vulnerability on the road," says personal injury lawyer Maxwell Paderewski of Lone Star Injury Attorneys, PLLC. 

Motorcyclists, cyclists, and pedestrians are most at risk of dying in car crashes because there is very little protection in a crash. Car occupants have safety belts, vehicle enclosures, and other safety features to keep them safe, but the same is not true for this group of road users.

Inexperienced drivers, mostly under 21, are also at a high risk of dying in a car crash. The risk is even higher when the driver is male, with 75 percent of car accident fatalities being male.

There are more male drivers on the road than female drivers, which explains part of why there are more male fatalities. However, male drivers also tend to act more recklessly than their female counterparts, increasing their chances of getting in an accident. 

The social-economic background of a location or neighborhood is also a factor. According to the 2019 WHO fact sheet, over 90 percent of all car accident fatalities occur in low-income countries, while the vehicle population in those countries is not quite as high. Even in high-income countries, statistics show that low socioeconomic neighborhoods have higher car accident-related fatalities than other neighborhoods. 

Cause of Car Accidents

Avoidable human error is the leading cause of car accidents, for example, driving under the influence (DUI). Most states in the US have a 0.08 percent BAC limit for drivers, but the effects of alcohol incapacitation start way earlier. Sadly, DUI results in 32 deaths on American roads daily.

Speed is a factor in approximately 29 percent of fatal accidents. The higher the vehicle's speed, the higher the chances of the persons involved in an accident suffering severe injury or even death. The risk increases even more when a pedestrian, cyclist, or motorcyclist is involved. 

Distracted driving is a factor in more than 8 percent of fatal accidents. Distracted driving is driving while the driver has divided attention. It can be visual (anything that takes the eyes off the road), manual (anything that takes the hands off the wheel), or cognitive (anything that takes the mind off the road). 

What to Do After an Accident

Getting medical attention must always be the priority. However, it is also important to obtain critical facts about an accident, such as accident scene evidence and other relevant evidence, because they can be critical in determining the outcomes. If another person is responsible for causing the accident, you can sue them for damages and recover compensation if successful. 

If the accident results in death, the victims' descendants have a right to bring a wrongful death claim and recover compensation from the at-fault party. While navigating a claim without legal help is possible, the chances of a fair outcome are slim, so having a lawyer working with you can be beneficial.

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