Car Crash Statistics

Also see: Car Death Report and Car Injury Report

Since 1996, American car owners have reported 68,762 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
23,960
  Hydraulic Service Brakes
8,768
  Vehicle Speed Control
8,327
  Power Train
4,188
  Steering
3,919
  Structure
2,518
  Electrical System
2,250
  Seat Belts
2,214
  Engine And Engine Cooling
2,175
  Suspension
1,924
  Equipment
1,733
  Tires
1,283
  Seats
1,040
  Wheels
867
  Electronic Stability Control
564
  Other Fuel System
513
  Unknown Or Other
507
  Exterior Lighting
462
  Gasoline Fuel System
381
  Visibility
347
  Parking Brake
319
  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 (6,223 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
2,200
  2000
2,821
  2001
2,983
  2002
2,923
  2003
2,931
  2004
3,472
  2005
2,900
  2006
2,382
  2007
2,336
  2008
2,479
  2009
3,047
  2010
4,146
  2011
2,564
  2012
3,291
  2013
4,137
  2014
6,223
  2015
5,177
  2016
4,491
  2017
2,831

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 4,805 crashes reported and cars produced in 2016 (current year is excluded) had the least crashes with 714 crashes reported.

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

Production Year Number of Crashes
1996 vehicles
3,377
1997 vehicles
3,312
1998 vehicles
3,609
1999 vehicles
4,342
2000 vehicles
4,805
2001 vehicles
4,524
2002 vehicles
4,694
2003 vehicles
4,248
2004 vehicles
4,177
2005 vehicles
4,333
2006 vehicles
4,129
2007 vehicles
3,973
2008 vehicles
3,460
2009 vehicles
2,428
2010 vehicles
2,411
2011 vehicles
2,163
2012 vehicles
2,194
2013 vehicles
2,064
2014 vehicles
1,988
2015 vehicles
1,426
2016 vehicles
714
2017 vehicles
235

Also see: Car Death Report and Car Injury Report