Car accident statistics seemed like a good topic to post since my two teens are in the midst of getting their driver's licenses and their first (very used) cars. On top of that, my latest writing assignment was coincidentally on car insurance - just as I was panicking over how high my car insurance rates will rise once they're both on my policy. Fortunately, I have stayed alive to write this post even through their first bout of city driving.
Just to warn everyone - there's going to be a couple more women drivers on the road. Statistically speaking, despite slanderous jargon about women drivers (mostly from my father), people should be grateful that these two new drivers are women and not men. Even recent 2007 fatality statistics by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shows that men are the drivers in the high majority of fatal accidents. The Institute's 2007 Fact Sheet has charts demonstrating fatal accident and gender statistics from 1975 to 2007.
Of course, the Center for Disease Control's Teen Driver Fact Sheet's mention of car accidents being the number one reason for teenage deaths in the US doesn't help me sleep well at night when my teens are out with their friends. But within these teenage statistics from the CDC is the data that teen female drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 are far less likely to die than their male friends. The CDC looks like they also have some interactive statistics and mapping toys that can be used to investigate car accident statistics.
Personally, if I were to compare my older boys with my two teen girls and their driving style, I have one in each gender that is very cautious and rule abiding, and I also have on in each gender that is over-confident about their driving abilities. Over-confidence can be a killer, but it is probably not as deadly as alcohol. (However, that's debatable. We haven't mastered measuring car accidents due to over-confidence yet.)
Men are responsible for the majority of alcohol realted deaths. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, in their gender report states the difference:
From 1982 to 2007, the proportion of fatally injured passenger vehicle drivers with blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) at or above 0.08 percent declined by 29 percent among males and 37 percent among females. Since 1985 the percentage of fatally injured male drivers with high BACs has been about twice that of female drivers.
Under the quote in that report is data from the 1980s to 2007 that lists statistics on alcohol related car accidents and BAC levels. The good news is that alcohol related fatal deaths are decreasing. And so are car accidents. CNN has a news article summarizing some alcohol related car accident statistics.
In the US, car accidents reached their all-time low since the rumbling days of hot rods and drag racing in the 1960s and the peak of the 1970s according to 2008 statistics (reported in June 2009) from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in their 2008 statistics summary of traffic safety facts. If you need to go global, you'll find some links on the US Department of State Travel page that has links to transportation and traffic statistics. (More global websites for international car accident statistics are listed later on in this blog post.)
Here is a link to the cache version of the NHTSA report that appears in Google Doc form:
Google Doc version of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration(NHTSA)2008 Traffic Safety Facts.
Here is a link to the pdf version of the NHTSA report:
PDF version of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration(NHTSA)2008 Traffic Safety Facts.
Overall, the number of people injured in car accidents in the US dropped from the 2.49 million in 2007 to "only" 2.35 million in 2008. The 2008 NHTSA car accident statistic report has a lot of valuable statistics and data and is likely one of the more recent sources for car accident statistics. You can also take a look at the Bureau of Transportation Statistics website for traffic data to support car accident data research. You'll also find some car accident statistics hiding in railroad, airline and boat accident statistics. (I have more research links on plane crashes and holiday travel statistics under the "transportation" labeled blog posts if you need more information in those areas.)
Another popular source for car accident statistics is the FARS - Fatality Analysis Report System. They have comparative statistics of car accidents and motorcycle accidents in a nicely laid out table that runs from 1994 to 2007. Ratios, mileage and population comparisons are listed as well as car accident statistics involving pedestrians and bicylists. FARS also has links to 2007 car accident statistics by state, (no surprise that California has the most and Rhode Island has the least) which list fatal accident statistics, as well as car accident statistics that involve a collision with an object. Their car accident reports by state also includes a page of alcohol related car accident statistics and BAC level statistics by state.
The FARR website also has links to trends and other reports, data and statistics on vehicle accidents. They even have a link to an excellent query page that offers tabulation reports on all sorts of data like vehicle types, times, license status, driver height, and all kinds of goodies. Great stuff if you need to get down and dirty and put your stats into a spreadsheet or need some good data to prove or refute a point. Ooooo time to play...wow that's great - after doing a query you get to go to see the full information of each report filed if you want. Code 11 in sequence of events is hitting an animal. I was just looking at deer statistics, however I know that there are always people hitting deer around here and getting their cars dented, but accident reports are hardly ever made.
Since I have no need for the data now I better stop playing. Let's move on to global and international car accident statistics. What better place to start than the World Health Organization. WHO knows everything about what's going on in the world, because in one way or another, everything will probably affect a person's health. They even have a page on world car accident information. A 2004 page describes motor vehicle accidents as a "hidden epidemic" with statistics backing up the claim. WHO has a lot of pdf reports on road injuries and road safety around the world.
There is a "Causes of Death" Excel file on the World Health Organizations Data and Statistics page that gives you a great spreadsheet of deaths by countries, and it includes data on deaths due to "road traffic accidents" by country. On the Pan American page of unintentional accidents on the WHO website you can find a link to a world traffic injury and prevention report that contains road traffic and vehicle accident research and statistics. You can also take a look at a WHO European page that shows some car accident statistics that closely mirrors the US and a list of links to European road traffic safety, injury and transport reports. You can also find some nice graphs and charts in the 2007 European Road Safety Day car accident and traffic safety report.
The BAST (Federal Highway Research Institute in Germany) has pdfs and links to car accident statistics in Germany.
A google book result brings up the WHO's World Report on Road Traffic which contains a lot of statistics and information, although I'm not sure how the information on the website differs from the information in the book, but it might be quicker just to look at the google book result to get a quick overview of international car accident statistics.
Wikipedia has links to resources for car accident statistics on their entry for Traffic Collision and Road Traffic Safety. From there you'll also see a Wikipedia link to information on the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, Road Casulaties Great Britain, a list of car accidents (motor vehicle accidents) in Japan and car accidents in Thailand.
UK car accident statistics can be found on the Department of Transport (DfT) website page containing transportation and traffic statistics and statistics on UK accidents. They also have a report on forecasting older driver accidents.
If those aren't enough, you can find more UK car accident statistics at the UK's Office of National Statistics (ONS) website and their page on UK road traffic accident statistics. The British Medical Journal has a free text study which includes statistics comparing car accident police reports and hospital records. (I love the BMJ and use it a lot. I wish all journals would provide free full text!)
If you want to go a wee bit south in the Commonwealth and need some car accident statistics on New South Wales, Australia, head over to their Road and Traffic Authority website and look at their page on crash statistics for free download information on Australia car accident statistics.
Staying south, the South African Department of Transportation website has a link to car accident statistics and road safety information in South Africa covering 2001 to 2005,with some statistics from the 1990s thrown in. There's also graphs in the report comparing South Africa statistics to Australia, China and other countries. Other statistics on South Africa car accidents can be found at the "about us" page Road Safety in South Africa and the "Arrive Alive" website that published the "about us" post, including some 2009 accident stats from Africa's N4 Toll Route.
Science Daily, (one of my favorite websites), has a short article stating some car accident statistics in Africa while claiming that Africa has the highest death rate from car accidents compared to other countries. If you're interested in data collection methods used in collecting Africa car accident statistics, someone was kind enough to upload a report on the implementation and process of using a MAPP data collection method in Africa. (If you're interested in more links on statistics and data involving Africa in general, take a look at my blog posts tagged Africa.)
If you want to delve into some car accident statistics and road traffic statistics, check out the uploaded documents at thesearch results at Scribd for "road traffic accidents," and the graphs and charts posted on "car accidents" at Swivel, or even the "road traffic safety" search results from my blog (that now needs some serious updating).
Looking at these stats, I'm very grateful that my life has never been touched directly by a fatal car accident, although my teenagers always seem to know somebody who knows somebody who was in a near-fatal accident. I have known a few women from church who lost their teens in car accidents - an unbearable thought to me. My boyfriend, however, was touched directly by fatal accidents, and lost his brother and his son to two different motorcycle accidents (years apart) - one caused by a drunk driver in a car, and one caused by teenage over-confidence. No statistic in the world can represent that loss and pain of losing a family member, and especially a child.
It's good to see that car accidents are being lowered, and drunk driving is on a downhill slide. I hope the road safety advocates keep up the good work and are continuously successful at saving lives and keeping our young ones alive.