Car Crash Statistics

Also see: Car Death Report and Car Injury Report

Since 1996, American car owners have reported 69,974 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
24,402
  Hydraulic Service Brakes
8,918
  Vehicle Speed Control
8,407
  Power Train
4,231
  Steering
3,981
  Structure
2,597
  Electrical System
2,300
  Seat Belts
2,250
  Engine And Engine Cooling
2,230
  Suspension
1,947
  Equipment
1,810
  Tires
1,285
  Seats
1,050
  Wheels
891
  Electronic Stability Control
593
  Other Fuel System
539
  Unknown Or Other
507
  Exterior Lighting
474
  Gasoline Fuel System
381
  Visibility
356
  Parking Brake
319
  Air Service Brakes
243
  Latches/locks/linkages
122
  Traction Control System
78
  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 (6,251 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
2,341
  2008
2,480
  2009
3,050
  2010
4,149
  2011
2,570
  2012
3,300
  2013
4,149
  2014
6,251
  2015
5,240
  2016
4,562
  2017
3,517
  2018
316

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 4,825 crashes reported and cars produced in 2017 (current year is excluded) had the least crashes with 354 crashes reported.

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

Production Year Number of Crashes
1996 vehicles
3,385
1997 vehicles
3,312
1998 vehicles
3,616
1999 vehicles
4,349
2000 vehicles
4,825
2001 vehicles
4,552
2002 vehicles
4,717
2003 vehicles
4,289
2004 vehicles
4,203
2005 vehicles
4,382
2006 vehicles
4,187
2007 vehicles
4,036
2008 vehicles
3,538
2009 vehicles
2,480
2010 vehicles
2,476
2011 vehicles
2,247
2012 vehicles
2,292
2013 vehicles
2,157
2014 vehicles
2,071
2015 vehicles
1,536
2016 vehicles
793
2017 vehicles
354
2018 vehicles
27

Also see: Car Death Report and Car Injury Report