Some Facts About Traffic Fatalities In The U.S., Part 1

Motor vehicle accidents took 35,092 lives in the United States in 2015 according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, which posted this and other related data based on 2015 driving statistics in November of 2016. Of the over 35,000 deaths, exactly 1,200 occurred in Pennsylvania. This article will summarize the study in two parts. Part one will cover fatal crash totals, deaths by road user, and crash types throughout the fifty states. Part two will discuss alcohol use, restraint or seat belt use, and rural versus urban crashes.

Some Facts About Traffic Fatalities In The U.S., Part 1Motor vehicle fatalities differ in number and type throughout the fifty states. Population, weather, road conditions, emergency care andspeed limits are just a few variables which affect the rate of traffic fatalities in a given geographic area.

Fatal Crash Totals

The fatality rate per 100,000 people ranged from 3.4 in the District of Columbia to 24.7 in Wyoming. Pennsylvania’s rate of 9.4 per 100,000 people was below the U.S. average of 10.9 and 18th lowest in the nation.

State Population Fatal Crashes Deaths deaths per 100k
Pennsylvania 12,802,503 1,102 1,200 9.4
U.S. Totals 321,418,821 32,166 35,092 10.9


Deaths by Road User

Wyoming and North Dakota had the highest percentage of deaths involving occupants of SUVs and pickups (50 percent) but some of the lowest proportions of deaths of occupants in automobiles (23 and 27 percent). The highest percentage of motorcyclist deaths occurred in New Hampshire and South Dakota (23 percent) while the highest percentage of pedestrian deaths was in the District of Columbia (57 percent).

Pennsylvania was above the U.S. average of 37% of deaths of car occupants with 41%; below the U.S. average of 26% of deaths for pickup and SUV occupants; just above the 13% U.S. rate for motorcyclists with 15%; and just below the 15% U.S. rate for pedestrian deaths with 13%.

Crash Types

Pennsylvania was in perfect correlation with the national average of 55 percent of single-vehicle crash deaths in 2015. The largest proportion of deaths in single-vehicle crashes occurred in the District of Columbia (70 percent), Montana (68 percent), and Maine (67 percent). The smallest proportion occurred in Minnesota (47 percent).

Pennsylvania’s rate of deaths from multiple-vehicle crashes also equaled the national average of 45%. Minnesota had the highest proportion of deaths resulting from multiple-vehicle crashes with 53%. Of course, it further stands to reason that the District of Columbia (30 percent), Montana (32 percent), and Maine (33 percent) had the lowest proportion of deaths resulting from multiple-vehicle crashes.

State Single-vehicle Multiple-vehicle All crashes
Number % Number % Number %
Pennsylvania 662 55 538 45 1,200 100
U.S. Totals 19,298 55 15,794 45 35,092 100


It is wise to contact an attorney experienced in litigating personal injury lawsuits involving motor vehicles. The attorneys, past and present, of Powell Law have represented victims of all types of accidents, including those involving automobiles, trucks, motorcycles, and off-road vehicles. If you or a loved one has suffered any type of injury resulting from a motor vehicle accident, contact Powell Law at call (570) 961-0777. The consultation is FREE and you don’t pay anything unless we win.

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