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2020 Motor Vehicle Death Rate Increases 24% to Highest Level in 13 Years

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2020 Motor Vehicle Death Rate Increases 24% to Highest Level in 13 Years

2020 Motor Vehicle Death Rate Increases 24% to Highest Level in 13 Years

May 26, 2021

While coronavirus pandemic lockdowns caused the majority of us to be stuck at home and only using our cars for essential errands, the roadway fatality rate paradoxically skyrocketed in 2020. As we noted in a blog from last September, early data compiled by the National Safety Council (NSC) seemed to indicate that the stay-at-home orders throughout the nation were having a peculiar effect on driving habits.

With more people inside their homes than on the roads, traffic levels plummeted to near historic lows. But for those individuals who did take to the unusually empty roads during the lockdowns, many engaged in excessive speeding and other forms of reckless driving. As a result, though the number of cars on the roads and the rate of traffic remained significantly low, car accident fatalities increased exponentially.

Preliminary data recently released by the NSC – which takes into account the entire calendar year – estimates that the total number of motor vehicle deaths for 2020 was 42,060. That represents an 8% increase from 2019, when an estimated 39,107 fatalities occurred.

Additionally, the estimated annual population death rate for 2020 was 12.8 deaths per 100,000 population, up from 11.9 in 2019. Perhaps the most striking statistic gathered by the NSC is the estimated mileage death rate for 2020, which is 1.49 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled. That may seem like a small figure, but it’s actually a staggering 24% increase from 2019.

And that 24% increase in deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled is in spite of the fact that the total miles driven in 2020 decreased by 13% (largely due to the coronavirus stay-at-home orders). In 2019, Americans logged an estimated 3,260 billion miles on their odometers. But in 2020, that number fell to 2,830 billion.

Moreover, the 2020 increase in the rate of motor vehicle deaths is the highest estimated year-over-year spike that the NSC has calculated in 96 years. Not since 1924 has there been such a dramatic increase in the motor vehicle death rate. To put that into context, in 1924 there were just over 15.5 million motor vehicles registered in the U.S., according to government data. In California alone, there were more than 35 million registered motor vehicles in 2020. Throughout the United States, it is estimated that nearly 287 million motor vehicles were registered in 2020.

Considering those figures, the fact that 2020 saw a 24% jump in the motor vehicle death rate is astounding. The NSC has gone so far as to call on President Biden to “commit to zero deaths immediately.” While that may be an overly idealistic ambition, we can all agree that the 2020 motor vehicle fatality rate increase can and should be dramatically reduced.

2020 Motor Vehicle Fatality Rate By State

2020 Motor Vehicle Fatality Rate By State

In 2020, the NSC reports that only nine states saw a drop in motor vehicle deaths. Those states, and the percentage in death rate reduction, are as follows:

  • Alaska (-3%)
  • Delaware (-11%)
  • Hawaii (-20%)
  • Idaho (-7%)
  • Maine (-1%)
  • Nebraska (-9%)
  • New Mexico (-4%)
  • North Dakota (-1%)
  • Wyoming (-13%)

The vast majority of states experienced an increase in the number of motor vehicle deaths. In fact, eight states experienced a more than 15% increase in the estimated number of deaths last year. Those states, and the percentage in death rate increase, are as follows:

  • Arkansas (+26%)
  • Connecticut (+22%)
  • District of Columbia (+33%)
  • Georgia (+18%)
  • Mississippi (+19%)
  • Rhode Island (+26%)
  • South Dakota (+33%)
  • Vermont (+32%)

Motor Vehicle Injury Statistics for 2020

The NSC defines a medically consulted injury as one serious enough that a medical professional was consulted (i.e. after a car accident, the driver/passenger was taken to the hospital). The NSC estimates that the number of nonfatal medically consulted injuries resulting from motor vehicle crashes throughout 2020 was 4,795,000. That’s a lot of trips to the emergency room as a result of car, motorcycle, truck, scooter, and bus accidents (among other forms of transportation).

With 2020 seeing such an increase in motor vehicle fatalities, the cost of those severe and often catastrophic collisions was significant. In total, the estimated cost of motor vehicle deaths, injuries, and property damage in 2020 was $474.4 billion, according to the NSC.

Schedule an appointment online for a free consultation today, or call us directly to speak to our top-rated, expert car accident attorneys.

Motor Vehicle Accident Statistics According to Crash Type

Although 2020 data is not yet available from the NSC, statistics from previous years indicate the following:

  • Motor vehicle-related deaths occur more often in collisions between motor vehicles than any other type of incident
  • However, vehicle-to-vehicle crashes represented less than half of the total number of collisions in 2018 (42%)
  • Collisions between a motor vehicle and a fixed object were the next most common type, with nearly 27% of deaths resulting
  • Pedestrian incidents and non-collisions (e.g. rollovers) were the next most common type of motor vehicle accident

Although collisions between motor vehicles accounted for less than half of all motor vehicle fatalities, the vehicle-to-vehicle crash type is commonly known to cause various types of serious damage.

Crashes occurring between vehicles are known to cause:

  • 79% of injuries
  • 74% of injury crashes
  • 72% of all incidents

However (and seemingly antithetical to the above figures), single vehicle crashes involving collisions with fixed objects, pedestrians, and non-collisions (e.g. rollovers) actually accounted for a greater proportion of both fatalities and fatal crashes when compared to less serious crashes.

Single vehicle crashes involving fixed objects, pedestrians, or non-collisions resulted in the following types of damage:

  • 55% of fatalities
  • 57% of fatal crashes

However, those three crash types accounted for only 25% or less of injuries, injury crashes, or all crashes, according to the NSC. In other words, although vehicle-on-vehicle collisions are the most common type of crash, single vehicle crashes actually account for more fatal crashes and overall fatalities.

For crashes between motor vehicles, those where an angle collision occurred (one vehicle striking another diagonally) were known to cause the greatest number of fatalities. Approximately 7,400 motor vehicle deaths occurred in 2018 as a result of collisions where a vehicle was struck at an angle.

The NSC offers a comprehensive and interactive chart demonstrating the estimated number of deaths, injuries, fatal crashes, injury crashes, and overall crashes for various types of motor vehicle collisions.

Motor vehicle deaths, injuries, and number of crashes by type of crash, United States, 2019

Motor vehicle deaths, injuries, and number of crashes by type of crash, United States, 2019
Motor vehicle deaths, injuries,- Type of crash table : 2019

Choosing the Best Car Accident Attorney is an Important Decision

2020 unfortunately proved to be a dangerous more deadly year for many drivers. Navigating California’s roads and highways should always be done with the utmost vigilance and attention to safety. If you happen to be injured in a car accident – which, as a California resident, is an unwelcome reality – securing the representation of a qualified, proven, and dedicated car accident lawyer can be the most important decision you make.

A car accident can leave you with severe and even catastrophic injuries that may require lifelong medical care. Those medical services can amount to exorbitant expenses, and you shouldn’t be responsible for payment after being injured by a negligent or distracted driver. With representation from Dordulian Law Group’s (DLG) premier Car Accident Division team, you can recover various types of damages for lost wages, lost earning capacity, pain and suffering, medical care and rehabilitation, emotional or psychological trauma, and much more. We will file a civil lawsuit on your behalf and proceed with a thorough investigation while developing a winning legal strategy that ensures you receive the maximum financial damages award you deserve for your car accident injury.

Many injured car accident victims wonder whether hiring a private attorney is actually necessary. If the insurance company offers a quick cash settlement following your car accident, why wouldn’t you accept it? As it turns out, there are many reasons why accepting a quick offer from the insurance company or at-fault driver without first consulting with a personal injury lawyer could be a decision you regret for years.

For starters, insurance companies are in the business of making money. This means that when you’re injured in an accident, insurance providers will do everything they can to ensure your payout is as low as possible. While a $10,000 offer may seem enticing when you’re lying in a hospital bed and unable to work, the sad fact is that such a paltry amount of money will never cover all your medical expenses, lost wages, or pain and suffering.

Insurance companies try to persuade injured victims into agreeing to settlements that are not in their best interest when they’re at their most vulnerable (i.e. hospitalized, out of work, and stressing over the mounting expenses).

But as it turns out – and this is something the insurance companies hope you never discover – hiring a private attorney to handle your car accident claim has been proven to be advantageous on multiple levels.

An independent study by the Insurance Research Council (IRC) confirmed that injured car accident victims have much to gain when they hire an experienced personal injury attorney like DLG’s Sam Dordulian:

  • Settlements are 40% higher for injured victims who secure private legal representation
  • The average insurance payout is 3.5 times higher for clients with personal injury attorneys like Sam Dordulian than for those representing themselves
  • 85% of all money paid by insurance companies for bodily injuries goes to victims who have secured representation from a private car accident attorney

Before you accept a lowball settlement from your insurance company, take a moment to consider whether or not that amount of money will make you “whole” in terms of covering all your financial expenses – today and years from now. Remember, injuries sustained in car accidents such as traumatic brain injuries (TBI), whiplash, and spinal cord injuries can have lifelong consequences. A $10,000 (or even $50,000) cash settlement from the insurance company won’t even cover a fraction of the overall costs you’ll incur after such an injury.

Before you decide whether hiring a car accident attorney is in your best interest, contact DLG for a free, discreet, and no obligation consultation with one of our skilled team members. You have nothing to lose except the potential to recover substantially more compensation for your injuries.

If you experienced a premises liability injury, don’t wait to file a claim. Contact our expert attorneys online or by phone for a free consultation today.

The DLG Advantage Simply Can’t be Beat

DLG’s founder and president, Sam Dordulian, previously served as Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County. With over 100 jury trial victories, Dordulian gives each car accident victim client peace of mind knowing that their case is in good hands and we will never settle for anything less than a maximum financial damages award. If an insurance company attempts to lowball a car accident client, we simply take the case to court and prove it before a jury.

With Dordulian’s courtroom experience – a skill that can’t be found at other law firms – you can be confident that if your case goes to trial, it will ultimately result in a successful conclusion. That said, in the majority of our car accident cases, we never have to go to trial. Why?

With Dordulian’s more than 100 courtroom victories, insurance companies know that when they deal with DLG, they can’t take advantage of our clients. In most cases, given that we’re always prepared to go to trial, the defendant will agree to what is fair – a maximum financial damages award that allows you, the injured victim, to recover fully without having to worry about unpaid bills, future expenses, or a diminished quality of life.

And if you need more proof that DLG is the number one car accident law firm in California, consider that two of our Car Accident Division attorneys previously worked as defense counsel for major auto insurance corporations. Although they used to fight for massive companies like Geico, Allstate, and Progressive, now they’re on our team, fighting for our car accident clients.

Using their experience and insider knowledge, our attorneys are able to effectively counter any tactic or dirty trick an insurance company might try to take advantage of one of our clients. But with DLG, you’re protected by our unique experience, knowledge, dedication, and proven success.

At DLG, we consistently turn initial offers of $5,000 from insurance companies into multi-million dollar damages awards for our clients. Not convinced? Take a look at some of our recent results and then peruse the testimonials from our satisfied clients. You’ll notice that DLG provides the utmost compassion, care, and personalized attention to every single client we represent.

With a 98% success rate and over $100,000,000 in settlements and verdicts recovered for injured clients like you, the best car accident lawyer for your claim is always DLG.

For more information or to ask one of our dedicated team members a question, contact us at 818-322-4056. Or, for a free consultation, complete our easy online form.

When Californians suffer a car accident injury, the best choice they can make is to call D-L-G.


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