Car Crash Statistics

Also see: Car Death Report and Car Injury Report

Since 1996, American car owners have reported 67,876 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
23,624
  Hydraulic Service Brakes
8,685
  Vehicle Speed Control
8,271
  Power Train
4,153
  Steering
3,854
  Structure
2,456
  Electrical System
2,212
  Seat Belts
2,185
  Engine And Engine Cooling
2,138
  Suspension
1,903
  Equipment
1,686
  Tires
1,283
  Seats
1,033
  Wheels
852
  Electronic Stability Control
541
  Unknown Or Other
507
  Other Fuel System
498
  Exterior Lighting
450
  Gasoline Fuel System
381
  Visibility
344
  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
  Back Over Prevention
1
  Forward Collision Avoidance
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 (6,190 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
1,179
  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
2,332
  2008
2,479
  2009
3,043
  2010
4,143
  2011
2,559
  2012
3,279
  2013
4,129
  2014
6,190
  2015
5,128
  2016
4,392
  2017
2,174

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 4,793 crashes reported and cars produced in 2016 (current year is excluded) had the least crashes with 641 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
3,603
1999 vehicles
4,340
2000 vehicles
4,793
2001 vehicles
4,509
2002 vehicles
4,653
2003 vehicles
4,215
2004 vehicles
4,163
2005 vehicles
4,290
2006 vehicles
4,102
2007 vehicles
3,913
2008 vehicles
3,392
2009 vehicles
2,377
2010 vehicles
2,375
2011 vehicles
2,106
2012 vehicles
2,129
2013 vehicles
2,000
2014 vehicles
1,925
2015 vehicles
1,339
2016 vehicles
641
2017 vehicles
175

Also see: Car Death Report and Car Injury Report