National crash facts


In traffic crashes; 36,096 people died in 2019; a slight decrease from 2019 

                                        38,824 people died in 2020; a 6.8% increase from 2020

2020 Fatalities compared to 2019: ↑6.8% overall ↑14% unrestrained passenger vehicle occupants ↑21% rate per 100 million VMT ↑21% ejected passenger vehicle occupants ↑14% in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes ↑9.4% in single-vehicle crashes ↑17% in speeding-related crashes ↑8.5% in urban areas ↑11% motorcyclists ↑12% during nighttime ↑3.9% pedestrians ↑9.5% during weekend.  Fatalities were up even though vehicle miles driven were at their lowest since 1943.  Non-fatal crashes and injury crashes were down from 2019.

A total of 36,096 people died in motor vehicle crashes in 2019. These deaths occurred in 33,244 crashes involving 51,247 motor vehicles. This was a 2 percent decrease in deaths compared with 2018.

Sixty-two percent of crash fatalities in 2019 were passenger vehicle occupants, 17 percent were pedestrians, 14 percent were motorcyclists, 2 percent were bicyclists, and 2 percent were occupants of large trucks.

According to a national daytime observational survey of motorists, seat belt use among front seat occupants was 90.7 percent in 2019. Among fatally injured passenger vehicle occupants age 13 and older in 2019, 50 percent of drivers and 45 percent of passengers were belted.

In 2019, speeding was a factor in 26 percent of motor vehicle crash deaths. Speeding has been a factor in more than a quarter of crash deaths over the past decade.

A total of 3,008 of the 50,930 of drivers in fatal crashes (or 6 percent) that occurred in 2019 were distracted. Of these, the most common distraction was “generally distracted or lost in thought (daydreaming)” at 62 percent of distracted drivers. These figures are likely underestimates given it often is impossible to verify a distraction was present at the time of a crash.

In 2019, February had the fewest crash deaths and August had the most. In 2019, nearly half of crash deaths occurred on Friday, Saturday or Sunday. In 2019, one out of every three crash deaths occurred between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m.

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