A Look Into The Statistics of Auto Accidents and Injuries

Motor vehicle accidents are one of the leading causes of injury and death among all age groups in the United States. Thousands of accidents occur throughout the country every day. Many of these accidents lead to serious injury or death. The unfortunate reality is that most accidents are preventable because they are caused by human error. Factors like distracted driving, speeding, failure to obey road signs, reckless driving, and impaired driving cause the majority of roadway accidents.

Current United States Average Collisions Every Year

Reporting agencies take time to gather, analyze, and present traffic data, but in 2020, over 5 million accidents were reported throughout the United States. Of these, over 35,000 resulted in fatalities. Estimations of 2022 totals are approximating that numbers were rising in about 50% of states during the first nine months of the year, with the biggest increase occurring on rural interstates.

In California, there were 187,211 crashes that resulted in injury in 2019, according to the Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System. These accidents injured 269,031 people.

Car Accident Fatalities

Any accident has the potential to cause devastating physical, psychological, and financial damage, but many agencies spend significant resources analyzing fatal crashes in an attempt to prevent further loss of life. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) names three major behavioral causes of fatal accidents – speeding, alcohol impairment, and non-use of safety belts. There was an increase in fatal car accidents from 2019 to 2020, which the NHTSA attributes to these three factors.

The graphs below show the patterns throughout both years for all some of these factors.

chart showing a trend in rising speeding-related accidents

chart showing a trend in rising alcohol-related traffic fatalities

Each factor experienced a significant jump in June 2020, with a sustained increase from 2019 totals throughout the rest of the year.

The California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) reports that:

  • Traffic fatalities in the state totaled 4,285 in 2021.
  • Alcohol-related fatal accidents increased by approximately 16% from 2020 to 2021.
  • Pedestrian and bicycle fatalities both increased from 2020 to 2021, 9.4% and 8% respectively.

OTS also provides traffic accident data for specific localities in California. The numbers of people injured or killed in traffic accidents in 2020 in Costa Mesa and Riverside are shown in the chart below.

chart showing the number of people killed in either Costa Mesa or Riverside, CA

Most Common Car Accident Injuries

While there are practically endless possibilities for injury in scenarios involving significant bodily trauma like car accidents, a few categories of injuries are seen more often than others. The two broad categories of injury that are most common in car accidents are penetrating and impact injuries.

  • An impact injury occurs when the body or part of the body strikes an object, like the car door or dashboard.
  • A penetrating injury is one that involves another object that scrapes, impales, or cuts the body.

Car accident injuries can also be broken down into different categories, such as head injuries and soft-tissue damage. Regardless of how the damage is categorized, injuries range from mild to catastrophic and can impact every facet of a victim’s life.


Whiplash is so common after accidents that it is often automatically associated with a vehicle collision. This injury occurs from the sudden jerking motion of the head and neck upon impact.


Broken arms, legs, and ribs are often seen in motor vehicle accidents, but fractures can occur in any bone in the body. Prompt medical attention is needed to treat broken bones so that they do not lead to serious complications and can heal properly.

Cuts and Scrapes

Broken glass, loose objects, and vehicle parts are all flying around during a crash and create the potential for wounds. It is incredibly common for accident victims to experience some level of abrasion or cut during their crash.

Head Injury

Head injuries encompass a broad range of ailments, including mild concussions, scalp wounds, and traumatic brain injury. Head injuries are among the most frightening type, as symptoms do not always present themselves immediately.

In fact, many injuries are not apparent immediately after an accident; some may take hours or even days to show symptoms. It is crucial that you are evaluated for injuries and receive the necessary medical care following a collision.

If you have recently been injured in a car accident in California and need legal representation, The Accident Network Law Group is here to help. We offer free consultations at our offices in Costa Mesa and Riverside, California. Schedule your appointment by calling the office location most convenient for you.