How Common are Motor Vehicle Accidents?

Motor Vehicle Frequency

Most people do not realize the amount of Motor Vehicle Accident (MVA) related injuries and deaths that occur in the United States every day.

An injury, by these statistics, refers to a medically consulted injury, one in which the condition was serious enough that a medical professional had to be consulted. In the United States, an injury from an MVA occurs every 9 seconds. Over a day, that would compound to be approximately 9,600 injuries. A death from an MVA occurs every 15 minutes, compounding to approximately 96 deaths every day. In 2009, the total number of injuries from an MVA increased to 3,500,000 and the total number of deaths amounted to 35,900.

Injuries sustained in MVAs fall under the umbrella of unintentional injuries. Also included in this category is injury or death resulting from poisoning, falls, choking, drowning, and similar causes. Of all unintentional injury deaths in the United States, motor vehicle deaths, both work related and non-work related account for 36% of all unintentional injury deaths.

“In 2007, motor vehicle crashes were the leading cause of unintentional injury or death for all ages combined, and the leading cause of unintentional injury or death for each single year of ages from 1 to 33, age 35, and from ages 56 to 71”

This means that, at these ages, most people die from MVAs. MVAs are also the leading cause of unintentional injury or death by race, Hispanic origin and sex in the United States according to data from 2007. This means that across many age groups, races and origins, motor vehicle accidents are a dangerous and deadly occurrence. The odds, over a person’s lifetime, of dying from an injury sustained in a motor vehicle accident is 1 in 88.

            These accidents are costly not only of people’s lives, but also economically. The non-work related motor vehicle accidents accrue costs of around $244.7 billion. This is equivalent to purchasing 400 gallons of gasoline per registered vehicle in the United States or paying more than $1,200 to every licensed driver. When work-related MVAs are added to this statistic, the total cost is approximately $265.2 billion.

            But why are these accidents occurring? Each MVA occurs from a combination of factors. In 2009, there were 33,808 police-reported motor vehicle deaths. 37% occurred due to occupant protection (seatbelts, etc.,) 32% occurred due to alcohol, 31% occurred due to speeding, 17% occurred due to young drivers, 16% occurred due to distraction, 10% occurred due to large trucks.

Delving further into the statistics surround accidents caused by large trucks;

“In 2009, 3,380 fatalities resulted from traffic crashes involving a large truck, a 20% decline from 4,245 in 2008. Although the majority of these deaths (75%) were occupants of vehicles other than the large truck, a decline in the number of fatalities among other vehicle occupants was primarily responsible for the overall decline in death from crashes involving a large truck. Large trucks were more likely to be involved in a multiple-vehicle fatal crash than passenger vehicles — 82% versus 58%, respectively, in 2008”

Arkansas ranks as the 6th highest among all states with a death rate from motor vehicle accidents of 23.8. This means that for every 100,000 citizens of Arkansas, 23.8 people died in 2007 as a result of a motor vehicle accident. To put that in perspective, Rogers, Arkansas, where our offices are located, had an estimated population of 55,145 in 2007. This would mean that 13.12451 people from Rogers would die in a car accident in 2007. Looking outside of Rogers to all of Northwest Arkansas, with a population of 465,776 during the 2010 census, this rate would imply 110.8547 deaths from motor vehicle accidents.

These alarming statistics are important to remember in any litigation, as well as during your everyday travels out on the road. Through careful and responsible driving, these statistics can be lowered.

All injury statistics cited in this article are from the National Safety Council’s 2011 Edition of Injury Facts. These statistics are largely based on 2007/2008 data.

Injury Facts. 2011 ed. Itasca, IL: National Safety Council, 2011. Print.


Statistical Data Regarding the Population of Arkansas:

1. “Rogers, AR Profile.” Rogers Profile. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 May 2014. <>.

2. “Fayetteville–Springdale–Rogers Metropolitan Area.” Wikipedia, n.d. Web. 13 May 2014. <>.