Car Crash Statistics

Also see: Car Death Report and Car Injury Report

Since 1996, American car owners have reported 67,136 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
23,388
  Hydraulic Service Brakes
8,586
  Vehicle Speed Control
8,205
  Power Train
4,118
  Steering
3,817
  Structure
2,415
  Electrical System
2,181
  Seat Belts
2,152
  Engine And Engine Cooling
2,101
  Suspension
1,886
  Equipment
1,639
  Tires
1,283
  Seats
1,030
  Wheels
833
  Electronic Stability Control
522
  Unknown Or Other
507
  Other Fuel System
487
  Exterior Lighting
445
  Gasoline Fuel System
381
  Visibility
340
  Parking Brake
317
  Air Service Brakes
243
  Latches/locks/linkages
120
  Traction Control System
77
  Child Seat
34
  Interior Lighting
16
  Diesel Fuel System
8
  Hybrid Propulsion System
3
  Forward Collision Avoidance
1
  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 (6,173 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
837
  1998
1,178
  1999
2,197
  2000
2,821
  2001
2,983
  2002
2,923
  2003
2,931
  2004
3,472
  2005
2,898
  2006
2,380
  2007
2,331
  2008
2,479
  2009
3,041
  2010
4,136
  2011
2,559
  2012
3,275
  2013
4,127
  2014
6,173
  2015
5,097
  2016
4,309
  2017
1,582

Total number of car crashes by model year

Table 3 shows the number of crashes reported for vehicles manufactured from year 1996 to 2017. Cars made in 2000 had the most crashes with 4,787 crashes reported and cars produced in 2016 (current year is excluded) had the least crashes with 551 crashes reported.

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

Production Year Number of Crashes
1996 vehicles
3,376
1997 vehicles
3,312
1998 vehicles
3,600
1999 vehicles
4,336
2000 vehicles
4,787
2001 vehicles
4,490
2002 vehicles
4,640
2003 vehicles
4,188
2004 vehicles
4,136
2005 vehicles
4,260
2006 vehicles
4,069
2007 vehicles
3,888
2008 vehicles
3,343
2009 vehicles
2,338
2010 vehicles
2,341
2011 vehicles
2,067
2012 vehicles
2,084
2013 vehicles
1,950
2014 vehicles
1,867
2015 vehicles
1,258
2016 vehicles
551
2017 vehicles
107

Also see: Car Death Report and Car Injury Report