Although advances in technology have made motor vehicles safer than ever before, car accidents still injure or kill thousands of people across the U.S. each year. In 2020, there were 584 crash fatalities in New Jersey alone, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Car accident statistics
NHTSA statistics show there are over 5 million motor vehicle accidents in the U.S. every year. Between 2019 and 2020, the number of crashes and injuries decreased significantly, but the number of fatal accidents per mile driven increased by 21%, which is the largest annual increase on record.
Texas led the nation in total fatal crashes, with 3,874 deaths. However, Mississippi had the most deadly car accidents per capita, with 25 deadly crashes per 100,000 people in the state. In contrast, Massachusetts had the fewest fatal crashes, with 5 per 100,000 people. New Jersey had 6.29 fatal accidents per 100,000 people.
Nationwide, car accidents caused 38,824 fatalities and 2,282,015 injuries in 2020.
Top causes of car crash fatalities
According to the NHTSA, drunk driving, speeding and failure to wear a seat belt were the top causes of car crash fatalities in 2020, contributing to a total of 33,805 deaths. Other common causes included:
- Distracted driving
- Hit-and-run accidents
- Drowsy driving
Nearly 10% of all fatal crashes were caused by distracted driving. Meanwhile, the number of deaths from hit-and-run accidents rose by 26%. Drivers and passengers between the ages of 25 and 34 accounted for 20% of all car crash fatalities, the highest of any age group.
Car accidents resulting in injuries and fatalities often end up in litigation. If a crash was caused by a negligent driver, the victim could be awarded compensation by the jury or through a settlement prior to the end of the trial.