Deaths by motor vehicle-related injuries in the U.S. 1950-2017

Motor-vehicle deaths in the United States have decreased greatly since the 1970s and 1980s. In 2017, there were around 12 deaths from motor vehicles per 100,000 population, compared to a rate of 28 deaths per 100,000 in 1970. Laws requiring drivers and passengers to wear safety belts and advancements in safety technology in vehicles are major drivers for these reductions.

Motor-vehicle accidents in the U.S.

Americans spend a significant amount of time behind the wheel. Many cities lack convenient and reliable public transportation and especially in rural areas, cars are a necessary means of transportation. In 2017, September was the month with the highest number of fatal crashes, followed by July and November. The deadliest time of day for fatal vehicle crashes is between 6 and 9 p.m., most likely due to the after-work rush hour and more people who are under the influence of alcohol.

Drinking and driving among youth

Drinking and driving remains a relevant problem across the United States and can be especially problematic among younger inexperienced drivers. As of 2017, around 5.5 percent of high school students reported they had driven while under the influence of alcohol. Drinking and driving is more common among males than females and Hispanic males reported drinking and driving more than other races or ethnicities.

Deaths by motor vehicle-related injuries in the U.S. from 1950 to 2017

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Release date

October 2019


United States

Survey time period

1950 to 2017

Supplementary notes

Data for years not listed in the pdf-version of "Health, United States, 2018" were taken from previous reports.
All rates are age-adjusted. Age-adjusted rates are calculated using the year 2000 standard population. Prior to 2001, age-adjusted rates were calculated using standard million proportions based on rounded population numbers. Starting with 2001 data, unrounded population numbers are used to calculate age-adjusted rates.

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Statistics on "Unintentional injury in the U.S."

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