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Car Accident Statistics for Washington State & the United States

As traffic accidents increase over the years, we regularly update our car accident statistics to help both our clients and readers to understand what is going on with the traffic both locally and nationally.

As we reported in the previous years, traffic accident fatalities had declined over a series of years, only to increase again in 2015. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), there were 35,092 traffic accident deaths in 2015. Up 7.2 percent when compared to the 2014 data.

Over time, deadly crash rates picked up again, with its peak being registered in 2017 (40,231 deaths). In 2018, however, officials noticed a decline.

According to the National Safety Council, 2019 followed the trend, with an estimated 38,800 people losing their lives to traffic accidents — a 2% decline when compared to 2018’s 39,404 deaths.

Official 2018 reports show that pedestrian deaths remain on the rise, with distracted driving being behind 8% of all crashes.

Drowsy driving is also making a comeback, being behind 2% of all crashes

Nationwide Car Accident Rates On The Rise

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), there were 35,766 fatal motor vehicle crashes in the United States in 2020. At least 38,824 people died as a result. However, 2021 saw an even greater increase in car accident deaths.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) stated that 42,915 people died in motor vehicle crashes in 2021 alone, a 10.5% increase from the previous year.

While numbers are subject to change as regulators with the NHTSA continue to update their data, 2021’s traffic death rate is the highest since 2005 and the largest percentage increase in the reporting system’s history.

According to U.S. officials, this is a tragic reality, which prompted them to take a series of new steps in order to help reverse this trend.

Olympia, Spokane, and Tacoma Car Accident Statistics

The number of cars and other vehicles on our roadways increases constantly, and with it the number of vehicular accidents.

In 2019, however, the auto industry saw a decline in the number of auto sales, with only 4.7 million units being sold yearlong. According to an S&P Global Market Intelligence analysis, that represents a 10.9% drop from 2018, when 5.3 million cars were sold.

Despite the decline, about 37,000 people die in road crashes in the United States each year. On average, approximately 5 million accidents each year, with more than 2 million people injured. Most of those injuries have a lifelong effect.

In Washington state, officials registered 2,437 total traffic accidents. At least 506 of these accidents were fatal.

Washington State Car Accident Statistics

Traffic accidents in Washington declined for several years but in 2014, officials saw an increase, with the total number of crashes reported statewide reaching 107,683.

Since then, officials saw another increase in 2016, with 122,396 accidents being reported.

In 2019, there were fewer, with officials registering 111,455 traffic collisions involving all types of vehicles across the state. Out of all registered crashes, 505 were fatal and 1,944 reportedly resulted in serious injuries in 2019 alone.

At least 7,390 of all traffic accidents involved a driver who was under the influence in 2019, a decline from 2018 when 7,965 accidents involved a drunk driver.

Another decline registered by state officials is the number of teen drivers involved in accidents.

In 2019, 15,383 crashes involved teen drivers, whereas in 2018, teen drivers were tied to 16,474 traffic collisions.

In 2021, however, the number of fatal Washington state accidents increased, despite a drop in the number of overall crashes.

Below are the key numbers pulled from the Evergreen state’s 2021 accident report:

  • Total accidents: 82,152
  • Total deaths: 575
  • Total serious personal injury accidents: 2,502
  • Total DUI accidents: 4,711
  • Total teen driver accidents: 11,315
  • Total distracted driving accidents: 15,542

Seattle Car Accident Statistics

Seattle saw a total of 7,984 car accidents in 2021, with at least 43 of these crashes being fatal and 206 resulting in severe personal injury. At least 632 of the total car accidents involved teen drivers while 1,602 involved some type of distraction.

As speed and distraction become recurring factors in accidents statewide, experts estimate that the trend will continue.

Distracted Driving Statistics

More recently, the federal government has released statistics involving distracted driving, especially incidents relating to the use of handheld cell phones and texting. According to NHTSA, 3,477 people died in 2015 as a result of car accidents involving a distracted driver. And at least 391,000 were injured as a result of car crashes involving distracted drivers during the same year.

Thankfully, we’re seeing these numbers begin to fall — but not enough to call it a victory.

In 2018, the NHTSA reported that distracted driving claimed 2,821 lives. Among the victims, 1,730 were drivers, 605 were passengers, 400 were pedestrians, and 77 were bicycle riders.

Younger, inexperienced drivers under age 30 have the highest proportion of distraction-related fatal auto accidents. Also, drivers who use handheld devices are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves, according to statistics provided by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Washington State Distracted Driving Accident Statistics

In 2019, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) reported that distracted driving was behind 667 traffic accidents across the state.

Distraction was also a factor in 707 accidents involving pedestrians and cyclists.

Drowsy driving was reportedly responsible for 62 crashes statewide during the same year.

If you have been in a serious car accident, you can seek compensation to cover your injuries, damages, and losses. Contact an experienced attorney to learn more about how to pursue your rights. The Bernard Law Group offers free consultations and comprehensive evaluations of all car accident cases.


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