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New York City Car Crash Statistics

National Crashes & Fatalities, 1990 – 2013

According to the Census Bureau’s latest official report, the nation’s total number of motor vehicle accidents has held steady for almost two decades:

  • 1990 – 11.5 million
  • 1995 – 10.7 million
  • 2000 – 13.4 million
  • 2004 – 10.9 million
  • 2005 – 10.7 million
  • 2006 – 10.4 million
  • 2007 – 10.6 million
  • 2008 – 10.2 million
  • 2009 – 10.8 million

That same 20-year stretch has seen a considerable decline in crash-related deaths. In 1990, 46,800 accident victims lost their lives within one year of their crash. By 2010, that number had dropped by almost 30%, to 32,885.

But usually, the tragedy inflicted by a traffic collision doesn’t take one year. More than 95% of victims who are fatally injured will die within 30 days of an accident.

Personal Injury Accidents, 2009 – 2013

While their confirmed numbers only cover four years, data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) suggests that cases of personal injury aren’t decreasing at all. In 2009, 2.22 million Americans were injured in auto accidents. 2013 actually saw an increase, of almost 4%, to 2.3 million.

Fatal Crashes In 2013

Out of 32,719 fatal accidents in 2013:

  • 64% resulted in the death of passenger vehicle occupants
  • 14% resulted in the deaths of motorcyclists
  • 14% led to the deaths of pedestrians
  • 2% resulted in the deaths of bicyclists
  • 2% led to the deaths of large truck occupants

Seat Belt Use

Out of all passenger vehicle occupants killed, a full 52% were not wearing seat belts at the time of their crash.

Restraint use was considerably lower during night-time accidents, than those during the day.

Accidents With Large Trucks

Crashes involving large trucks disproportionately affect the occupants of other vehicles, rather than the trucks’ own drivers.

In 2013, 3,964 Americans died in collisions with large trucks. 71% of those fatally injured were riding in passenger vehicles, while 17% were inside trucks and the remaining 12% were pedestrians.

Crash Location

Due to decreased police surveillance and less-congested roadways, accidents are more likely to occur in rural areas than urban.

In 2013, 54% of all fatal crashes were on rural roadways, 46% in urban areas.

More than 55% of all fatal accidents involve “roadway departures,” in which a vehicle crosses over median markers, lane lines or leaves the road completely. One out of every four fatal crashes occurred at an intersection.

Alcohol Use & Car Accidents

Around 31% of all fatal auto accidents involve driver intoxication.

According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, 300,000 people drive under the influence of alcohol every day. Only 13% are caught. Drunk driving is most frequent among young adults. 23.4% of motorists between the ages of 21 and 25 report that they have driven while intoxicated in the past year.

Every day, approximately 28 people die in drunk driving collisions. This costs the country $199 billion every year.

Crashes In New York State

In 2013, New York saw 304,804 motor vehicle collisions, almost 3% of the national total.

  • 41%, or 124,505 crashes, resulted in personal injury
  • 0.03%, 1,109 crashes, resulted in fatality
  • 5% involved pedestrians

Out of 259,740 accidents investigated by the police, 78% were attributed at least partially to human factors.

Driver inattention contributed to more accidents than any other human factor. Almost one out of every four crashes involved distraction. The second leading factor was following too closely; the third was failure to yield the right of way.

Accidents In New York, 2013

Who Is Most Likely To Be Injured?

In those 1,109 accidents that led to death, 1,188 people were killed.

  • 53% were drivers
  • 29% were pedestrians
  • 15% were vehicle passengers
  • 3% were bicyclists

In non-fatal crashes, drivers are more likely to be injured than anyone else. In 2013, a total of 169,177 people were injured in accidents. Out of those injured people:

  • 60% were drivers
  • 27% were vehicle passengers
  • 10% were pedestrians
  • 4% were bicyclists
How Common Are Severe Injuries?

55.5% of crashes in New York State result in vehicle damage, by far the most common effect. 31.9% of accidents result in minor injuries, 6.6% in moderate injuries and 3.8% (9,814 crashes) in serious injury.

Police Reporting

Most accidents, around 85%, are reported to New York State’s police. But the reporting rate varies depending on the severity of a crash:

  • 100% of fatal accidents were reported
  • 93% of accidents that result in injury are reported
  • 80% of crashes that result only in vehicle damage are reported
Days & Times

The most dangerous time to drive in New York was between 3 and 6 pm on a Friday evening. Within that time, 12,017 crashes occurred in 2013. In fact, 3 to 6 were particularly dangerous hours no matter the day.

The safest time was between 3 and 6 early Tuesday morning. Only 1,343 accidents of any severity occurred during those hours. But with 53 Tuesdays in 2013, that’s still around 25 crashes per day.

These trends were mirrored in New York City.

Alcohol Use & Crashes In New York

Only 2.7% (8,368) of New York’s accidents in 2013 involved driver intoxication according to police reports:

  • 51% resulted in personal injury
  • 45% resulted only in vehicle damage
  • 4% were fatal

Accidents that involved driver intoxication were slightly more likely to result in fatality than those that didn’t. Personal injury crashes, on the other hand, were far more likely to be severe:

  • 11.3% resulted in serious injury (compared to 3.8% of all crashes)
  • 13.4% resulted in moderate injury (compared to 6.6% of all crashes)

And it was less likely that victims sustained minor injuries.

56% of all alcohol-related accidents were single-vehicle crashes. Beyond intoxication, excessive speed was the leading factor contributing to these accidents.

Motor Vehicle Crashes In New York City, 2013

Over a span of 12 years, New York City’s total auto accidents decreased by 37%, from 112,637 in 2001 to 70,403 in 2013.

Injuries & Fatality

42,274, or a very high 60%, of 2013’s crashes resulted in either personal injury or death (remember, the State injury rate was only 41%).

In those accidents, a total of 66,906 people were injured:

  • 48% were drivers
  • 29% were vehicle passengers
  • 17% were pedestrians (crashes in NYC account for 70% of all the pedestrians injured in New York State)
  • 6% were bicyclists

294 people died in motor vehicle accidents in 2013. 183 of them, or 62%, were pedestrians.

Police Reporting

Unlike the State at large, many collisions that occur in New York City go unreported. But that wasn’t always the case.

In 2001, 92% of the City’s total crashes were reported to the police. In 2002, only 73% were. By 2003, it had fallen again to 64%, and then gradually increased over the subsequent decade to its current rate of 75%.

In short, one out of four crashes goes unreported.

  • All fatal crashes were reported to the police in 2013.
  • 86% of accidents that result in personal injury are reported.
  • Only 48% of collisions that result solely in vehicle damage are reported.

Of the 52,550 accidents reported to the NYPD:

  • 0.5% resulted in fatality
  • 6% resulted in serious injury
  • 10% resulted in moderate injury
  • 58% resulted in minor injury

Most Common Crash Causes

Out of the 52,550 accidents investigated by the police, 73% were attributed to human factors. Of those crashes in which human error played a part:

  1. Driver inattention contributed to 12,935, or 34%
  2. Failure to yield the right of way contributed to 7,463, or 19%
  3. Following too closely contributed to 6,932, or 18%
  4. Unsafe speeds contributed to 3,821, or 10%
  5. Disregarded traffic controls contributed to 3,186, or 8%

Distraction was implicated in 35% of all crashes that resulted in personal injury. Excessive speed was the most fatal human factor, contributing to 30% of the City’s deadly crashes.


But New Yorkers do wear their seat belts. Out of 133,011 total vehicle occupants involved in collisions, only 5.4% weren’t using restraints.

Many cyclists, on the other hand, don’t. Of the 3,761 bicyclists struck by motor vehicles in New York City, an estimated 66% were not wearing helmets. Motorcyclists were better about safety. Almost 75% were wearing helmets at the time of their collision.




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