The United States has averaged nearly 6 and a half million car accidents every year for the past few years running. Injuries run in the high 2 millions, and the financial cost of these car accidents total over $230 billion per year. In 2005, 42,636 people were killed in car accidents, which equate to 115 people per daythat is approximately 1 death in every 13-14 minutes.
On the upside, car accident deaths relative to the total population has declined since its peak of 35.46 percent in 1979. In fact, 2008 recorded only 37,313 deaths, which is a 9 percent decline compared to 2007 where 41,059 people died in car accidents. This likely happened because of the summer of obscene gas prices in 2008 and people drove less.
While there is no comprehensive listing of accident rates based on specific car models, there are resources to determine the types of cars involved in fatal accidents. Fatality Analysis Reporting System Encyclopedia (www-fars.nhtsa.dot.gov) provides a breakdown of fatal accidents by category of car (passenger, light truck, heavy truck, etc.). They also have breakdowns of accident occurrences by month, time of day, time of week, accidents by state, deaths by age group, and much more. The NHTSA (www.nhtsa.dot.gov) provides information ranging from safety issues to statistical data on traffic accidents, and reviews safety programs currently in place.
Many things have not changed over the years, however:
Teens are still the leading demographic when it comes to driving risk.
The cause of accidents and deaths are generally due to negligence or inattentive driving.
Drunk driving still remains a leading factor in automobile related accidents and deaths; teens have been shown to be a major risk factor for this.
Seat belt use does appear to be on the rise. Many fatal car accidents could have been avoided had the seat belt simply been used. In over half of all cases of fatal car accidents, the seat belt was not in use.