Car accidents happen all the time. You probably think it won’t happen to you, and this is actually how a lot of people see road accidents. Many people think that if they’re careful, they wouldn’t experience being in an accident. But the thing about being on the road and being involved in a car crash is that it’s not entirely up to you. There are other motorists out there who drive recklessly.
To spread more information regarding the topic, we’ve collected the numbers from some of the most respected sources and made them into easy to understand infographs. We’ll walk you through the breakdown of the stats below.
On the infograph above, we can clearly see that males are responsible for more car crashes than females. This does not mean that females are better than males at driving. It may simply be because there are more male drivers, or it may be because males are more likely to participate in risky behavior. Whatever the reason, the important thing to remember is that the numbers on this graph are real. Fatal car crash incidents reach thousands per year and car crashes that injure people and damage property reach millions per year. This means that getting involved in a car accident is not as rare as you think.
In the data collected from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, we can clearly see that the number of deaths and injuries involving vehicular accidents is on the rise. Cars aren’t the only ones responsible for these deaths, damages, and injuries, as motorcycles, bicyclists, and pedestrians also played a part.
Check out the different states and how they rank when it comes to car accidents.
Laws for Your Driving Protection
Seat Belt Laws
The District of Columbia along with 33 other states have primary seat belt enforcement laws. This means that a police officer can stop a car if the passengers inside the vehicle are not wearing seat belts. The other remaining states have secondary seat belt laws, which mean that the police can issue a seat belt violation only if the driver has broken another traffic rule. Currently, only New Hampshire is without an adult seat belt law. The record for the highest seat belt usage is 87%, which was reached in 2013. States that have implemented a primary seat belt law have an average rate of 91% usage, 11% higher than states who only have secondary seat belt laws.
Drunk Driving Laws
Drunk driving accounted for 10,322 deaths in the U.S. alone in 2012. It has risen by 4.6% from 2011. This upward trend has not always been the case because drunk driving fatalities had been steadily declining since 2003. The trend may be because of the many traffic laws passed since. In D.C., the definition of drunk driving was redefined, setting the limit for drunk driving to 0.08% blood alcohol concentration from the former 0.10%. Many states have also implemented a liquor liability law, which holds bars or businesses serving alcohol accountable for the damages that a drunk driver may cause.
Fourteen states, including the District of Columbia, have already completely banned the use of mobile devices for all drivers while 37 states have restricted cellular phone use for new drivers. As for texting, D.C. plus 44 other states have already prohibited the practice while behind the wheel.
14% of the population was older than 65 years of age back in 2012. This accounts for around roughly 43.1 million residents. Despite their small number, the drivers from this age group accounted for 17% of all car accidents in the same year. For this reason, additional laws have been passed restricting the licenses of older motorists. This could mean being allowed to drive but only during the day, or a restriction to drive on some major freeways. Needless to say, this depends on every driver’s ability. Some younger drivers may even get a restriction if they have a medical condition that could affect their ability to drive.
Young Driver Laws
Unsurprisingly, drivers who are young account for a large number of vehicular accidents. For this reason, some states have adopted laws in which young drivers aren’t allowed to drink even small amounts of alcohol. Almost all States including the District of Columbia have also implemented a Graduated Drivers License program for 15- to 18-year olds, where people who are learning how to drive go through a more rigorous and longer process before getting a driver’s license. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), this program involves 3 stages. Initially, the student driver obtains a learner’s permit and approval would depend on the results of a vision test, a road knowledge test, driving accompanied by a licensed adult, seatbelt use by everyone in the car, a zero BAC level, and six months without a crash or a conviction for traffic violations. The second stage includes a behind-the-wheel road test, advanced driver education, driving accompanied by an adult at night, and 12 consecutive months without a crash or traffic violation conviction. After this, they can apply for a full and unrestricted driver’s license. The only exception to this is New Hampshire, as they do not issue learner’s permits.
Different states require different durations before issuing a driver’s license to learner’s permit holders. In most cases, 6 months is the required duration. Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Mississippi, North Carolina, North Dakota and Vermont, however, require a 12-month learner’s permit provisional period. Virginia requires 9 months, while Wyoming only requires a provisional period of 10 days.
In addition, restrictions on night driving for teens have been implemented in all states except Vermont. Excluding Florida, Iowa, Mississippi, North Dakota, and South Dakota, all the other states have also created a regulation restricting the number of teen passengers allowed in a single vehicle when the driver is also a teenager. This is because according to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and State Farm, teens have a greater risk of getting involved in a car crash if other teens are in the vehicle as well.
Nevada was the first state that approved driverless or self-driving cars on the road in May 2012. California, Florida, Michigan, and the District of Columbia have since passed similar laws and many other states are considering doing the same.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), aggressive driving is a “major factor” in traffic accidents, “playing a role not just in well-publicized incidents of road rage, but in a large number of fatal highway collisions each year.” NHTSA defines aggressive driving as “an individual commits a combination of moving traffic offenses so as to endanger other persons or property.” Even though the definition of “aggressive driving” still remains fluid to this day, one of the main factors that constitute accidents that would fall on aggressive driving is speeding.
The definition of “distracted driving” according to NHTSA is “activities that take a driver’s attention off the road, including talking or texting on cellphones, eating, conversing with passengers and other distractions.” In 2010, NHTSA updated the way they evaluated distracted driving through a more specific measure called “distracted-affected crashes,” this focuses more on the actual distractions that are most likely to impact accident involvement like using mobile devices and being distracted by a passenger or other external events.
Driving Behaviors Reported For Fatal Crashes
No matter how many laws are passed to prevent accidents that would harm you and your vehicle, accidents happen. Worse, theft happens. In 2011, around 230 vehicles were stolen for every 100,000 according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau. This amounts to more than $4.3 billion in losses due to vehicle theft. The average price per vehicle theft was $6,089.
Top 10 Cities With The Highest Motor Vehicle Theft Rates
Top 10 States With The Most Motor Vehicle Thefts
Top 10 Cities With The Fewest Motor Vehicle Thefts
Top 10 Cities Most Frequently Stolen Passenger Vehicles
Despite these glaring numbers on car fatalities, not all motorists are insured. In 2012, about one in every eight or 12.6 percent of drivers were uninsured. Though this percentage has declined in recent years, some states still have an alarming number of motorists who are uninsured. Oklahoma had the highest rate of uninsured drivers at 26%. Massachusetts, on the other hand, had the lowest incidence of uninsured motorists at only 4%, according to a 2014 study by Insurance Research Council.
Forty-nine states along with the District of Columbia oblige motorists to have some form of auto liability insurance. New Hampshire is the only state that does not necessitate the purchase of insurance although they have a financial responsibility requirement. This mandate requires drivers to prove that they have the financial capability of paying for damages in case they meet an accident. According to the Insurance Information Institute, some states including Texas, Nevada, Oklahoma, Wyoming and California already have online auto insurance verification systems to detect uninsured drivers.
Top 10 Highest Uninsured Motorists By State
Top 10 Lowest Uninsured Motorists By State
General Property/Casualty Statistics
In 2013, the U.S. insurance industry’s net premiums alone amounted to $1 trillion, with property/casualty insurers accounting for 46% of recorded premiums. This was calculated after deducting certain risks that are transferred to other insurers, according to SNL Financial. Out of the leading 10 global insurance companies in 2013, two were U.S. based, namely Berkshire Hathaway, which took the number one spot and United Health Group at number five. From 2004 to 2013 alone, the property and casualty net premiums written increased by 13%.
Auto Insurance Premiums Written
In 2011, the total private passenger auto insurance premiums written amounted to $163.3 million, while $168 million and $174.8 million worth of insurance premiums were written in 2012 and 2013 respectively.
Auto Insurance Costs and Expenses
A study by AAA’s 2014 Young Driving Costs revealed that the average cost to own, operate, and maintain a sedan was $8,876 in 2013. This has decreased by 2.7% (roughly $246) from the year before. According to the results of the study, “The cost reflects a relatively large decrease in fuel costs and lower tire, depreciation, and insurance costs.”
As for the average yearly cost of auto insurance for a sedan, it fell by 0.6% from 2012. This includes collision and comprehensive coverage. According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, 76% of drivers pay for the additional comprehensive coverage on top of the required mandatory liability insurance, while 71% opt for collision coverage.
Costs And Expenditures By State And City
According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, people are more likely to buy brand new cars in states where the economy is doing well. These brand new car owners are also more inclined to buy physical damage coverage.
Location is another factor when it comes to premiums. Places that are more populated and with higher per capita income tend to also be high-premium states since the wages in urbanized areas are also higher. The costliest city for auto insurance is Detroit where prices are almost double the amount as compared to the second priciest city, New Orleans. Six of the cities with the cheapest car insurance are in North Carolina with Winston-Salem as the cheapest.
In 2013 alone, the total losses incurred by private passenger auto insurance reached $109.6 billion. According to ISO, less than 1% of those with liability insurance had physical injury claims and only 3.6% had property damage liability claims.
High Risk Markets
The Shared/Residual Market
All states in the U.S. have put up systems that help give car insurance for those who can’t afford it. They call them assigned risk plans. The insurance industry refers to these as the shared, or residual, market. The percentage of vehicles in the shared market is dropping, however, according to the Insurance Information Institute. One of the reasons why this is happening is because of the decline in the “nonstandard” sector of the voluntary market. This is for drivers with poor driving records or those who drive specialized vehicles.
Auto Insurance Laws
The no-fault system is for lowering the cost of car insurance by taking small claims out of the court. In a state with a no-fault law, every insurance company reimburses its own policyholders for minor damages irrespective of whose fault the accident was. This is known as personal injury protection (PIP). PIP coverage is compulsory in no-fault states although the benefits vary depending on which state you’re in. The no-fault states include Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, and Utah.
Drivers who reside in no-fault states may sue if there are bodily injuries sustained as long as the case meets certain conditions. These conditions are referred to as tort liability threshold. It may be expressed in verbal terms including death or disfigurement or in monetary amounts of medical bills.
“Choice” No Fault
For “choice” no-fault states, motorists can choose out of two options: a no-fault auto policy or a traditional tort liability policy.
There are no limitations on lawsuits in customary tort liability states. For states with this law, the passenger injured can sue the driver at-fault for any bodily harm, inconvenience, and expenses that he or she sustained during the accident.
For states with the add-on policy, drivers can obtain medical coverage and other coverages from their insurance company. The only difference they have in no-fault states is that there are no restrictions on lawsuits. “Add-on” is the term used because these benefits are added to the customary tort liability system. In add-on states, first-party coverage may not be required and the benefits may be inferior to that of true no-fault states. The “add on” no fault states include Arkansas, Delaware, Washington D.C., Maryland, New Hampshire, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.
Take a look at the 2012 data for claim frequency and average claim payment per 100 insured vehicles. (Source: Highway Loss Data Institute)
Paying for car insurance may seem expensive now but getting in an accident without insurance would cost more. Finding the best policy may not be easy since there are a lot of insurance companies in the market, but if you do your research and know what kind of coverage you want, the process is much smoother. Look for an insurance company who can provide personalized coverage instead. This may be better for your budget since you don’t have to pay for unnecessary fees.
A vehicle means more than just a machine to most. It can be one’s symbol of success, the reward for one’s continuous hard work, or even a representation of love for some who received their car as a sentimental gift. Have your car insured and protect not just your vehicle, but also your loved ones as well.