Car Crash Fatalities Are On the Rise

Motor vehicle related fatalities have been on the rise in recent years, with early estimates for 2021 suggesting a drastic increase in car crash fatalities since 2019.

Statistics: Car Crash Fatality Increases

Between 2019 and 2020, car crash fatalities increased, despite the fewer miles driven. CDC reports show the following vehicle fatality statistics between 2019 and 2020:

  • 11% decrease in vehicle miles traveled between 2019 and 2020
  • Additional 2,469 vehicle-related fatalities reported in 2020
  • Additional fatalities amount to a 6.8% increase in vehicle deaths in 2020

While these numbers are striking, early estimates are showing an even more drastic increase in the number of vehicle-related deaths when 2019 is compared to 2021.

  • 18% increase in car crash fatalities since 2019
  • Similar number of miles driven in 2019 compared with 2021

For comparison, the death rate from vehicle-related accidents increased by 0.1% between 2015 and 2019. 

Why the increase in vehicle deaths?

Clearly, there has been a drastic increase in vehicle deaths, and we are not entirely sure what the reason is. The reason may be that with less people on the roads in 2020, traffic patterns changed and people began driving less carefully.

According to one study, “During the first 9 months of 2020, driving patterns and behaviors in the United States changed significantly.” The study cited an increase in “riskier behavior, including speeding, failure to wear seat belts, and driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.”

Car crash fatality statistics

Decreasing your risk for vehicle fatality.

While some of these tips may seem cliché, it’s important to remind ourselves of them. Taking these basic precautions can help reduce the number of car crash fatalities.

  1. Don’t drive drowsy. In 2016, drowsy driving caused a total of 697 deaths. If you get tired while you are driving, don’t take a risk. Pull over to grab some coffee and take a quick nap.
  2. Take breaks. As a general rule, you shouldn’t drive for more than a couple hours without taking a quick break. If you are on a long road trip, take five or ten minutes to stretch your legs and give your eyes a break every two or three hours.
  3. Slow down. Yeah, I know. You’re probably about to skip over this one. We all think we’re good drivers. In fact, about three-quarters of Americans proudly rank their driving as better-than-average. But speeding triples your chance of crashing. It is definitely fun to go faster. But slowing down helps save lives.
  4. Don’t get distracted. Distracted driving causes thousands of car accidents each year. Texting and driving causes a quarter of all traffic accidents and makes you six times more likely to cause an accident than driving drunk. But it’s not just about not texting. Daydreaming while driving can be a significant factor putting yourself and others at risk.
  5. Wear a seatbelt. In general, studies have shown that about half of people killed in car crashes were not wearing a seat belt. Don’t forget to make sure you and your passengers are buckled. Just don’t let your seatbelt give you a false sense of security and make you drive recklessly!

Make sure you have proper auto insurance coverage.

Make sure you have adequate auto insurance coverage. If you get hit by an uninsured driver or cause an accident, you don’t want to have to pay for those losses out-of-pocket. There are a number of different types of coverages, and you need to be sure you have sufficient coverage in each category.

When setting your limits on your auto policy, consider this: when do you want your insurance company to stop paying? Chances are, if you are in an accident, you don’t want to pay for your losses. That’s what insurance is for.

If you would like to speak with an agent about your auto insurance, call our Johnson City auto insurance office at (423) 292-4142 or email us at

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