Car Crash Statistics

Also see: Car Death Report and Car Injury Report

Since 1996, American car owners have reported 70,341 car crashes to the U.S. Department of Transportation for vehicles built by the 31 automakers that we track. The car crashes that we study in this article are results of car problems. Table 1 shows the most common car problems that caused the crashes since year 1996. Table 2 shows the number of car crashes reported each year due to these car problems. Table 3 shows the number of car crashes by production year.

Common causes of car crashes

Table 1 shows the most common car problems that caused car crashes. The number one cause of car crashes is failure of the air bags. The next two leading causes of car crashes are hydraulic service brakes and vehicle speed control, respectively.

Table 1. Common causes of car crashes

Car Problem Category Number of Car Crashes
  Air Bags
24,527
  Hydraulic Service Brakes
8,969
  Vehicle Speed Control
8,433
  Power Train
4,240
  Steering
4,005
  Structure
2,616
  Electrical System
2,320
  Seat Belts
2,266
  Engine And Engine Cooling
2,242
  Suspension
1,953
  Equipment
1,835
  Tires
1,286
  Seats
1,051
  Wheels
893
  Electronic Stability Control
599
  Other Fuel System
548
  Unknown Or Other
507
  Exterior Lighting
478
  Gasoline Fuel System
381
  Visibility
361
  Parking Brake
320
  Air Service Brakes
243
  Latches/locks/linkages
125
  Traction Control System
78
  Child Seat
34
  Interior Lighting
16
  Diesel Fuel System
8
  Forward Collision Avoidance
3
  Hybrid Propulsion System
3
  Back Over Prevention
1

Total number of car crashes by year

Table 2 shows the number of crashes reported each year since 1996. 2014 had the most crashes reported (6,259 crashes) and 1996 had the least crashes with 660 crashes reported.

Table 2. Total Number of crashes reported each year since 1996

Calendar Year Number of car Crashes
  1996
660
  1997
838
  1998
1,179
  1999
2,201
  2000
2,822
  2001
2,983
  2002
2,923
  2003
2,931
  2004
3,473
  2005
2,900
  2006
2,388
  2007
2,344
  2008
2,482
  2009
3,050
  2010
4,149
  2011
2,570
  2012
3,300
  2013
4,152
  2014
6,259
  2015
5,245
  2016
4,577
  2017
3,598
  2018
564

Total number of car crashes by model year

Table 3 shows the number of crashes reported for vehicles manufactured from year 1996 to 2018. Cars made in 2000 had the most crashes with 4,828 crashes reported and cars produced in 2017 (current year is excluded) had the least crashes with 405 crashes reported.

Table 3. Total Number of crashes reported for vehicles built since 1996

Production Year Number of Crashes
1996 vehicles
3,386
1997 vehicles
3,312
1998 vehicles
3,616
1999 vehicles
4,351
2000 vehicles
4,828
2001 vehicles
4,554
2002 vehicles
4,724
2003 vehicles
4,300
2004 vehicles
4,206
2005 vehicles
4,389
2006 vehicles
4,201
2007 vehicles
4,053
2008 vehicles
3,561
2009 vehicles
2,495
2010 vehicles
2,493
2011 vehicles
2,273
2012 vehicles
2,309
2013 vehicles
2,187
2014 vehicles
2,099
2015 vehicles
1,582
2016 vehicles
825
2017 vehicles
405
2018 vehicles
41

Also see: Car Death Report and Car Injury Report