The greatest cost of car accidents is human lives, and motor vehicle crashes continue to claim an average of more than 32,000 lives each year, according to figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). That agency also indicates that an additional 2.2 million people are injured in traffic accidents each year, and that these crashes cost nearly $1 trillion annually in injuries, loss of life, and property damage.
The Denver personal injury lawyers at the Frickey Law Firm understand the challenges faced by car accident victims and their families, and we are dedicated to helping injury victims seek the financial security they need to move forward with their lives. If you were hurt or a loved one was killed in a motor vehicle accident, please call us at 303-237-7373 for your free consultation with one of our attorneys.
National Crash Statistics
According to the NHTSA, 32,719 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2013, the last full year for which comprehensive national data is available. For a little perspective, that number represents 10.3 deaths for every 100,000 people in the United States. Preliminary estimates from the National Safety Council and the NHTSA indicate that crash fatalities rose nationally in 2014, to just over 35,000.
There are more than 5 million reported auto accidents in the United States each year. Among the top factors in motor vehicle collisions that result in injury or death, according to the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association (RMIIA), are:
- Drunk driving (which continues to claim the lives of more than 10,000 people each year)
- Distracted driving (which includes texting or other cell phone use and is thought to play a role in hundreds of thousands of accidents annually)
- Driver fatigue (although this data is not consistently recorded in all accident reports, recent research indicates that driving while fatigued can impair your awareness and responsiveness similarly to alcohol; surveys suggest that more than one-third of drivers routinely operate their cars when they are so drowsy they have difficulty keeping their eyes open)
- Speeding (citing the NHTSA, the RMIIA states that speeding is a contributing factor in about 30 percent of all fatal crashes)
The NHTSA estimates that at least 10 million collisions nationwide go unreported every year.
Colorado Accident Statistics
Although Colorado motor vehicle accidents kill hundreds of people and injure thousands more each year, the state has seen a significant downward trend in the number of fatal collisions over the past decade-plus.
According to data from the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), 743 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2002. In 2014, that number dropped to 478.
Regionally, fatal collisions in Colorado are more common in densely populated areas and those that run along the heavily used Interstate 25 and Interstate 70 corridors. According to CDOT, the counties with the most motor vehicle accident fatalities in 2014 were:
- Weld County, 49
- El Paso County, 44
- Jefferson County, 39
- Denver County, 38
- Adams County, 32
- Arapahoe County, 28
Perhaps not surprisingly, the greater Denver area is home to a relatively high number of the state’s deadly car accidents. The cities with the dubious distinction of hosting the most fatal crashes in 2014, according to CDOT, were:
- Denver, 39
- Colorado Springs, 19
- Aurora, 16
- Lakewood, 12
- Pueblo, 8
- Greeley, 8
- Westminster, 7
- Commerce City, 6
Based on figures from CDOT and the Colorado State Patrol (CSP), there were more than 10,000 reported accidents in Colorado in 2014. The CSP estimates that it investigates about 30 percent of all motor vehicle crashes in the state, and about 70 percent of all traffic accidents that involve fatalities.
Car Accidents and Timing
Years of data and extensive research demonstrate that some months, days and even hours are more dangerous to be on the road than others.
Information from CDOT reveals that the deadliest months on the roadways in Colorado are May, June, July and August, when fatalities average more than 50 per month. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, fatal collisions are also four times more likely at night than during the day.
NHTSA data shows that most fatal car crashes occur between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m., with the second-deadliest time period being from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. The safest hours to be on the road, according to the statistics, is between 3 a.m. and 6 a.m.
Research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety further reveals that drunk driving accidents are more likely on the weekends, and that the peak hours for accidents related to drunk driving are between midnight and 3 a.m. Based on this information, it is not surprising that the deadliest timeframes for auto accidents are:
- 9 p.m. to midnight on Fridays
- Midnight to 3 a.m. on Saturdays
- Midnight to 3 a.m. on Sundays
According to national data from the NHTSA, August is statistically the most dangerous month on the roadways, with Saturday being the most dangerous day. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the safest days to drive, based on the numbers of reported accidents and fatalities.
Average Payouts for Car Accident Claims
In 2012, the last full year for which comprehensive analytics are available, the average auto liability claim for property damage was just over $3,000, according to figures cited by the RMIIA. The average auto liability claim for bodily injury was about $14,650.
For the same year, the average collision claim was $2,950, while the average comprehensive claim was nearly $1,600. So who ends up paying?
According to the RMIIA, private insurers pay for about 50 percent of all motor vehicle crash costs. Sadly, individual crash victims pay about 26 percent of the overall related costs. Various other parties, including state and federal agencies, healthcare providers and uninvolved motorists share the remaining associated costs.
If you were injured or a loved one was killed in a car accident caused by a negligent driver, it’s advisable to discuss your case with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney who won’t just treat you like a number. Insurance company settlement offers are often inadequate for the actual expenses faced by accident victims.
To schedule your free consultation with one of our accomplished lawyers, please contact the Frickey Law Firm online or call us at 303-237-7373. We are proud to provide the personal attention injury victims from Lakewood and the greater Denver area deserve.