New York Car Accident Statistics: Quick Facts

In just one year, 774,941 New Yorkers were involved in car crashes. More than 100,000 of those residents had to seek emergency treatment and 943 of them lost their lives.

The state is well known as a dangerous place to drive, especially in New York City. If you are new to the state, the parent of a teen getting on the road, or just someone who wants to learn more about the facts of driving in New York, this is the article for you.

Distracted Driving

Nationally, 2,841 people were killed by distracted driving in 2018, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). That averages out to roughly 8 people per day killed by distracted driving. In one year alone, 160 New Yorkers were killed and 33,000 more were injured in distraction-related accidents. Nearly a quarter of all accident reports listed “driver inattention/distraction” as a contributing factor.

According to the state’s Institute of Traffic Safety Management and Research (ITSMR), distracted driving is a persistent cause of accidents in New York. This chart illustrates the percent of fatal and personal injury crashes where distracted driving played a role.

Anything that pulls your focus away from the road is a distraction. There are 3 main types of distraction, according to the NHTSA: 

  • Visual: taking your eyes off the road
  • Manual: taking your hands off the wheel
  • Cognitive: taking your mind off driving

Common forms of distraction include eating and drinking, talking to passengers, daydreaming, looking at scenery, and, of course, cell phone use. 

According to a study conducted by NHTSA, cell phone use is the most frequent source of distraction. The study found that in 80% of distraction-related accidents, the driver looked away from the road just seconds before impact. 

Distracted Teen Drivers

Teen drivers are at high risk for distraction-related accidents. Of all distracted driving accidents, 25% involved a teen driver. Car accidents are the second leading cause of death among teenagers. Nationally, 2,121 people were killed in accidents involving a teen driver in 2018. In the same year, 297,000 teens were injured in car accidents.

Teen drivers often engage in risky behavior. In a nationwide survey, 43% of teens admitted to not always wearing a seat belt while driving. In the same survey, 39% of drivers between the ages of 15 and 18 admitted to having texted or emailed while driving within the past 30 days. Nearly 11% of teens reported driving drunk within the past 30 days and 7% of those drivers were male.

Pedestrians Struck by Vehicles

Approximately 15,000 of New York’s pedestrians are injured and 300 are killed each year. This is not surprising considering that pedestrians are largely unprotected from a collision with a several thousand pound vehicle. 

New York City’s busy streets offer plenty of opportunities for pedestrian accidents. In 2019, 114 New York City pedestrians suffered fatal crashes.

When not fatal, pedestrian injuries tend to be serious. They are among the top ten causes of injury-related hospital admissions in New York State. More than 3,000 of New York’s pedestrians are admitted to the hospital each year.

Follow this link to learn more about pedestrian accidents in New York.

Accidents Caused by Speeding

Nationally, 9,378 people died due to speeding accidents in 2018. Of those, 882 were New Yorkers. Nearly half of all speeding accident victims were not wearing seat belts. 

Speeding increases the likelihood of severe injuries. The World Health Organization found that an increase in average speed of just .6 miles per hour typically results in a 3% higher risk of a crash involving injury. The majority of speeding injuries are caused by driving too fast for road conditions as opposed to failing to observe the posted speed limit.

Alcohol is a factor in 16% of fatal speeding accidents. Most accidents that involve both speeding and alcohol impairment take place between 9:00 p.m. and 3:00 a.m. 

Speeding is an extremely costly behavior. The NHTSA estimates that speeding accidents’ total cost to society is $40.4 billion per year. In New York, a speeding ticket can cost a driver between $45 and $600. A speeding violation can also lead to increased auto insurance premiums and up to five points on one’s driver’s license. 

Drunk Driving Accidents

In 2019, 27% of all fatal accidents in New York State were alcohol related. In New York, 67% of drivers who suffered fatal injuries had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of over 0.08%. 

Male New Yorkers are more than three times more likely than women to be involved in drunk driving accidents. The age range most likely to suffer a fatal drunk driving accident is 21-29 year olds, followed by drivers aged 30-38. More than 4 out of 10 drunk driving accidents occur on weekends, as the following bar chart indicates. And, according to a national report, 70% of drunk driving accidents take place at night and 92% during clear/cloudy conditions. 

Where Do Accidents Happen in New York State?

In 2014, Nassau County had the most accidents which required hospitalization: 998. Suffolk County followed closely with 995. This is not surprising since both of these counties are quite densely populated. Hamilton County had the least number of car accident hospitalizations that year. This table shows the data for the ten New York counties with the most hospitalizations due to crashes: 

What Are the Most Dangerous Types of Vehicles?

In New York, the majority of fatal accidents took place in passenger cars, followed by light trucks. Of all passenger cars, 4-door sedans with a hardtop were involved in the most accidents in 2018. Out of all light trucks, compact utility trucks were the most likely to get into a fatal accident. 

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, these were the cars with the most frequent occupant fatalities between 2015 and 2018:

Accidents by Day, Month, Time, and Weather

In New York, the most dangerous month to drive is September, in which 101 people died in 2018. Saturday is the most dangerous day to drive in New York, as 162 fatalities took place on that day. The most dangerous time to drive in New York is from 6 PM to 9 PM. In 2018, 5,764 Americans died in that window, and 160 of those victims were New Yorkers.

Nationally, 2,755 fatal accidents occured in rainy conditions and 512 people died in accidents when it was snowing in 2018. This pie chart depicts the weather conditions for traffic fatalities over one year in New York, according to the NHTSA.

Who Is Most Likely to Die in a Car Accident?

In 2018, 685 male New Yorkers and 258 female New Yorkers died in auto accidents. This imbalance is reflected across most accident types. In 2019, 73% of drivers arrested for impaired driving were male while only 27% were female. Similarly, 68% of speeding drivers were male and 32% were female in 2019.

During 2018, 133 New Yorkers between the ages of 55-64 died in a car crash. That is the highest number, followed by 45-54 year olds, 130 of whom lost their lives in auto accidents in New York the same year. This bar graph shows fatalities broken down by age.

On the national level, the most at-risk driving age range is 25- to 34-year-olds, who suffered 6,733 fatalities in 2018. 

Vehicle drivers are the most at-risk during traffic accidents in New York, followed by pedestrians, motorcyclists, then vehicle passengers. This table provides a breakdown of fatal crash victims for 2018: 

How Much Do Accidents Cost?

Car accidents cost lives and cause temporary and permanent injuries to victims, as well as property damage. According to the CDC, car accidents cost New York residents $17 million in medical costs and $1.42 billion in lost wages, which amounts to $1.44 billion spent on fatal crashes alone in 2018. This table captures the breakdown of these costs to New Yorkers:

Vehicle TypeAmount of Money Spent on Accidents
Motor Vehicle Occupants$807 Million
Pedestrians$318 Million
Motorcyclists$261 Million
Bicyclists$39 Million

Who Should I Contact if I’ve Been Injured in a Car Accident in New York?

Auto accidents can inflict anguish, trauma, and lasting physical and financial consequences on their victims. The dedicated, seasoned personal injury attorneys at Rosenblum Law are deeply committed to demanding those injured receive just compensation. E-mail or call us at 888-815-3649 for a free, no-obligation consultation.

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New York Car Accident Statistics Quick Facts
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