How Often Does Someone Die in a California Car Accident?

According to the Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS) summary, California has averaged almost 4,000 traffic deaths per year since 2018. This number is shockingly high. It means that an average of over 11 people per day died in traffic accidents in California over those five years.

But this number does not tell the whole story. You can look at California’s traffic deaths in many ways that can put this number into context.

Does California Have a Lot of Traffic Deaths?

One explanation for California’s high number of traffic deaths is its huge population. The state has more residents than any other state by an enormous margin. California has 30% more residents than the second-most populous state, Texas. One out of every nine U.S. residents lives in California.

Given its population, 4,000 traffic deaths might not be unreasonably high. When you normalize traffic deaths by population, California has 10.9 traffic deaths per 100,000 residents. The nation as a whole has 12.9 traffic deaths per 100,000 residents. Thus, California residents have a lower chance of dying in a traffic accident than the average American.

The U.S. average gets inflated by states like Montana and New Mexico, both of which average over 20 traffic deaths per 100,000 residents. Even comparing California to other large states like Texas and Florida, California is, by far, the safest.

Percentage of Car Accident Deaths in CA

You can also look at a breakdown of traffic deaths to understand how often people die in car accidents. Traffic death statistics always include deaths of motorists, pedestrians, cyclists, and innocent bystanders. 

If you look at the breakdown of traffic deaths by role, you find that in 2021, California had:

  • 2,324 passenger vehicle occupant deaths
  • 39 commercial motor vehicle occupant deaths
  • 589 motorcyclist deaths
  • 1,108 pedestrian deaths
  • 124 cyclist deaths

Once you eliminate pedestrian accidents and bicycle accidents, you have 2,952 motorist deaths that result from multi-vehicle collisions.

Compared to the rest of the country, California has a higher percentage of traffic deaths relating to pedestrians and bicyclists. This means walking and biking in California is more dangerous than in many other states. But it also means that driving in California is safer than driving in many other states, like Florida and Texas.

Comparing Fatal and Non-Fatal Injuries in California

You can also gather how often someone dies in a California car accident by looking at the injury and fatality rates. From 2018 to 2022, the SWITRS summary reported that the state averaged 238,916 non-fatal traffic injuries per year. These injuries included 16,752 incapacitating injuries and 222,164 non-incapacitating injuries.

This means that 1.6% of those injured in traffic accidents die from their injuries. You have about a 98.4% chance of surviving if you get hurt in a California traffic crash.

Traffic Deaths Compared To Other Causes of Death

Although every traffic death is tragic, far more people die of other causes in California. 

The top five leading causes of death in California in 2017 included:

  • Heart disease
  • Cancer
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Lower respiratory disease

Accidental injuries do not crack the top five causes of death in the state. All unintentional injuries, including falls, drug overdoses, and traffic crashes, come in sixth. Thus, you are much more likely to die of natural causes than from a traffic accident in California.

Traffic Deaths in California

Car accident deaths are an unfortunate result of the world’s dependence on motor vehicles. If you lose a loved one to a traffic crash, talk to an experienced California personal injury lawyer to learn about the wrongful death compensation you can seek.

Contact the San Diego Car Accident Law Firm of Mission Personal Injury Lawyers Today To Get More Information

If you’ve been injured in a truck accident in San Diego or Chula Vista, please call Mission Personal Injury Lawyers for a free case evaluation with a personal injury lawyer or contact us online.

We proudly serve San Diego County and throughout California.

Mission Personal Injury Lawyers
2515 Camino del Rio S Suite 350, San Diego, CA 92108

(619) 639-4784

Mission Personal Injury Lawyers – Chula Vista Office
690 Otay Lakes Rd #130, Chula Vista, CA 91910
(619) 722-3032

We also serve the state of Texas. Contact our personal injury law office in El Paso for legal assistance today.

Mission Personal Injury Lawyers – El Paso Office
201 E Main Suite 106, El Paso, Texas 79901
(915) 591-1000