12 Fascinating Auto Accident Statistics [Infographic]

Considering the large number of vehicles traveling along Colorado’s streets and highways every day, being a driver or passenger in a motor vehicle has inherent dangers. You may be wondering about your chances of getting into an auto accident in Denver or elsewhere in the state. We have some fascinating statistics we’d like to share.

Car Accidents by the Numbers

1. Although the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates close to 7,500 people lost their lives in auto accidents during the first quarter of 2015, the fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled was 1.04. This is quite a bit lower than it was 10 years ago, when first quarter fatalities totaled 9,239 with a per-100-million-vehicle-mile rate of 1.32. Much of this can be attributed to the increase in safety features offered in newer vehicles. In addition to seat belts and air bags, many cars now come equipped with in-vehicle crash-avoidance technology. Brake assist, back-up cameras and reverse sensors, adaptive cruise control, parking assist, and lane departure warning systems are standard on a lot of vehicles today.

2. An estimated 52 percent of car accidents occur within 5 miles of a person’s home, and 77 percent occur within 15 miles or less, according to a study conducted by Progressive Insurance. While this statistic may seem shocking, the fact is people often tend to relax and go on “auto-pilot” when they are on familiar streets and roads. They feel more comfortable with the terrain and often do not maintain the same level of alert as they would in other areas.

3. It takes a vehicle air bag only 1/20th of a second – or the blink of an eye – to fully inflate, per SaferCar.gov. While air bags can help prevent car crash injuries, the force of impact can be severe. Frontal air bags have been known to cause serious or fatal injuries, particularly if an individual is sitting too close to the steering wheel or dashboard at the moment of deployment. Drivers and passengers can lower their risk of air bag injuries by sitting back in their seats and wearing a seat belt.

4. Auto accidents around the globe cost a total of $518 billion, according to the Association for Safe International Road Travel. In many countries, the cost equates to around 1-2 percent of the annual gross domestic product (GDP). This clearly shows that auto accidents have an economic impact on our societies, as well as on the individuals involved.

DUI Accident Facts and Figures

5. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that in the United States, collisions involving alcohol-impaired drivers account for close to one-third of all auto accidents. In 2013, drunk driving accidents lead to 10,076 fatalities and cost upwards of $59 billion. A total of 200 children under the age of 15 became DUI accident fatality statistics that year. DUI accidents are entirely preventable. So long as drivers refrain from getting behind the wheel of a motor vehicle after they have consumed alcohol, serious injury and death from alcohol-impaired accidents can be avoided.

6. Out of the 112 million self-reported drunk driving episodes each year, only about 1 percent (1.4 million) of drunk drivers will find themselves facing arrest for DUI, according to the CDC. Considering this statistic, it is surprising more people aren’t killed by drunk drivers. The majority of alcohol-impaired drivers will get behind the wheel numerous times before they are either pulled over for a suspected DUI or charged following a DUI accident.

7. More than half of the children under the age of 15 who were killed in drunk driving accidents (121 out of 200) were riding as passengers in a vehicle with an alcohol-impaired driver. Had the parent, relative, friend, or loved one with whom they were driving not gotten behind the wheel, these children could still be alive.

8. In an estimated 18 percent of all driver deaths, drugs other than alcohol (such as marijuana and cocaine) are reportedly involved, according to the CDC. This indicates a direct correlation between drug use and driving. It is not only alcohol that can cause a driver to become impaired, but narcotics, prescription and over-the-counter drugs as well.

Distracted Driving Statistics

9. While the average text message takes less than 5 seconds to type and send, Distraction.gov states that is sufficient time for your vehicle to have traveled the length of a football field at 55 mph. As your eyes are off the road when reading or sending a text, it is as if you have gone that distance blindfolded.

10. According to Bloomberg Business, more than 8 trillion text messages were being sent each year as of the text message’s 20th anniversary. Distraction.gov reports that 153.3 billion texts are sent each month. These text messages are just some of the driver distractions contributing to more than 3,000 fatalities and 421,000 injuries a year.

11. The United States government estimates that at any given time of day, an estimated 600,000 U.S. drivers are talking on cell phones, texting or using electronic devices while operating a motor vehicle. Even though Colorado law does not prohibit the use of handheld devices while driving, it does prohibit drivers from texting while driving.

12. Although texting is widely considered to be one of the most dangerous driver distractions, as it involves all three types of distraction: visual, manual and cognitive, the most common driver distraction according to PropertyCasualty360 is getting “lost in thought.” When a driver’s mind drifts away from the task of driving, or he or she goes on autopilot, it often results in a serious or fatal accident. In fact, daydreaming accounts for a significant percentage of distracted driving fatalities.



Michael established The Sawaya Law Firm in 1977 and built it into one of the largest personal injury law firms in Colorado, with more than 20 lawyers and 80 staff members serving clients from five offices located in Denver, Greeley and Colorado Springs. Throughout its history, the firm has stayed true to its 12 Core Values, which emphasize excellence in advocacy and a commitment to providing outstanding client service. Michael studied sociology and economics as an undergraduate student at The Colorado College, and he earned his law degree from the Texas Tech University School of Law. In addition to being involved in several legal and community organizations, Michael enjoys playing music and cooking, and he has written a book on spiritual matters.