What is the Risk of Dying in a Car Accident?

death from car crash
Car crashes happen every day. Even if you are a safe and careful driver, you could still end up in a collision. Sadly, fatal and serious accidents in Las Vegas remain a major public safety problem. This raises an important question: What is the risk of being killed in a car crash? The answer depends on a number of different factors. In the United States, the population wide risk of being killed in a car accident is approximately 1 in 6,400 in any given year. In this article, our Las Vegas car accident lawyers provide a more detailed assessment of the risk of being killed or severely injured in a motor vehicle crash.

Traffic Accident Fatality Data: (2020)

As a starting point, it is useful to take a look at the latest car accident fatality data. Federal, state, and local authorities collect and publish statistics on deadly motor vehicle crashes. Sadly, deadly accidents are rising all across the country, including in the Las Vegas Metropolitan area. Here is a brief overview of the traffic fatality data for 2020:

  • National Car Accident Fatality Data: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that an estimated 38,680 people were killed in motor vehicle collisions nationwide in 2020. Notably, the number of fatal crashes was actually higher in 2020 than in 2019—even though people drove less due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Pedestrian vehicle occupants make up the greatest share of fatalities (23,395). Though, motorcyclist fatalities (5,015) occur at a much higher rate. Pedestrians and bicyclists also face risks from car accidents. The NHTSA finds that 6,205 pedestrians and 846 bicyclists were killed in traffic accidents in the United States in 2020.
  • Statewide Car Accident Fatality Data: According to the Nevada Department of Public Safety, 319 people were killed in traffic collisions in the state in 2020. To put this number into perspective, this means that Nevada’s rate of deadly car accidents is broadly in line with the national average. However, there are some notable safety concerns in our state. Fatal pedestrian accidents occur in Nevada at a higher rate than in the United States as a whole. It is always important to take proper care in and around roadways, especially as a pedestrian.
  • Local Car Accident Fatality Data: Official data from the Nevada Department of Transportation shows that nearly two-thirds of fatal motor vehicle accidents are reported statewide occur within Clark County—and a significant share of those happen within the Las Vegas city limits. Unfortunately, there is early evidence that deadly car accidents are rising in Las Vegas. According to a September 2021 report from 3 NBC News, deadly crashes increased by 23.5 percent of the previous year in the first half of 2021. It is the most car accident deaths over a six month period in Las Vegas in decades.

Know Your Odds of Dying in a Car Accident: A Comprehensive Statistical Overview

The Ladah Law Firm has put together a comprehensive statistical analysis of the risk of dying in a car accident in the United States: According to the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention, 2,854,838 died nationwide in 2019 (pre COVID-19 pandemic). That same year, 36,096 people died in motor vehicle collisions. In effect, this means that car accidents are responsible for approximately 1 in 80 deaths reported in the United States. The CDC reports that the U.S. life expectancy is nearly 80 years old. Taken together, around 1 in 6,400 Americans are killed in a car accident each year.

Of course, the population-wide car accident fatality rates do not tell you the full story about your personal risk. The simple reality is that not everyone is equally likely to be involved in a fatal car accident. There are many well-known risk factors that could increase (or reduce) your risk. As an example, 71 percent of people killed in car accidents in 2019 were male. If you are male, your “risk” is technically higher. Other socioeconomic factors, such as low income, are associated with an increased risk being involved in a catastrophic car accident.

Five Steps You Can Take to Reduce Your Risk of Being Involved in a Serious Accident

You cannot completely eliminate the risk of a catastrophic or deadly car accident. Unfortunately, you have to put some faith in the hands of vehicle manufacturers, roadway maintenance crews, trucking companies, and other drivers. That being said, there are absolutely steps that you can take to reduce your personal risk. If you do the following five things, you will dramatically reduce your risk of being involved in a fatal car accident in Las Vegas:

  • Obey the Speed Limits: By obeying the speed limit, you can go a long way towards reducing your risk of being involved in a serious accident. Drivers that follow the speed limit are less likely to end up in a crash. Further, if a crash does occur, it is far more likely that it will be minor or moderate. A high speed collision could be a catastrophic or fatal accident.
  • texting while driving

  • Never Text-and-Drive: As noted previously, fatal accidents are on the rise in the United States. Highway safety officials believe that one of the driving factors is an increase in distracted driving, particularly texting and driving. Texting while driving is incredibly dangerous. If you avoid texting (and other distractions) while behind the wheel, you will reduce your risk of dying in a car accident. Distracted driving is negligence. It puts everyone at risk.
  • Conduct Regular Vehicle Maintenance: As a driver, it is your responsibility to make sure that your vehicle is in proper working condition. In too many cases, car accidents occur because a vehicle was left uninspected and/or unrepaired. Make sure you conduct automobile maintenance on a regular basis. If you are involved in a serious crash caused by a vehicle defect, contact an experienced Las Vegas car accident attorney for immediate help.
  • Take Extra Care Around Large Trucks: Large commercial trucks are responsible for a relatively small share of overall motor vehicle collisions in the United States—just 1 in 50. However, tractor trailers are involved in nearly 1 in 9 fatal car accidents. On account of their large size, big rig trucks pose an inherent safety risk to the public. Please be sure to take extra precautions when near large commercial trucks. If you or your loved one is involved in a serious truck accident, contact an experienced Las Vegas truck accident lawyer for help.
  • Practice Motorcycle Safety: Do you ride a motorcycle? If so, then it is imperative that you engage in the proper safety practices. The unfortunate reality is that motorcyclists are far more likely than members of the general population to end up in a catastrophic or fatal accident. The good news is that there are things that you can do as a motorcyclist to reduce your personal risk. Among other things, make sure you wear a DOT-approved motorcycle safety helmet every time you get on a bike.

Get Help From a Car Accident Attorney in Las Vegas

At Ladah Law Firm, our Las Vegas auto accident lawyers have the professional skills and legal expertise to help you navigate the legal claims process. With deep experience, we have helped people secure more than $200 million in financial support. Call us at 702-252-0055 or connect with our firm online to set up a free review of your case.