According to data published last month by the NHTSA car accidents involving injuries have been on a steady decline, which makes sense when you consider how much technology is in new cars to protect and assist the driver.
The Federal Government doesn’t exactly publish “current data”, so while the data is certainly about 5 years old, it represents some of the most comprehensive data the NHTSA has published, and we can use this to determine what trends were present for a 10 year period, which even now can tell us which way things are going.
When you consolidate all of the number from the individual states and lump them together based on PDO (Property Damage Only), Non-Fatal Injury, and Fatalities, you come up with the following spreadsheet of data…
There are a couple of highlights to call out here.
- Overall, Car Accidents declined from 5.8 million to 5.1 million from 2000-2009 (This represents a 12.26% decline)
- Property Damage Only Vehicle Accidents declined from 3.8 million to 3.5 million from 2000-2009 (This represents a 7.79% decline).
- Injury Accidents declined from 1.9 million to 1.5 million from 2000-2009 (This represents a 20.9% decline).
- Fatalities fell from 31k to 26k, representing a 15.71% decline.
What is happening here is overall there are less total accidents nationwide, but what’s more is the data shows only an 8% decline in property damage only car accidents. What this means is some of the accidents which involved injuries (whether fatal or not) earlier in the cross section of data had to have moved to the property damage only classification.
Long story short, there are fewer total accidents (12% fewer as of 5 years ago), and 20% less accidents involving injuries, therefore both collision avoidance systems as well as the safety equipment within our vehicles are, indeed, getting better and better. This trend should only continue as safety equipment and collision avoidance systems continue to evolve to the point where IHS, a global information company, expects 2035 to be the year most vehicles will be self driving.