It’s the worst-case scenario: You get in your car to drive home, to work, or to the grocery store, but you never make it there. How common are fatal traffic accidents? Motor vehicle crashes claimed 32,675 lives in the U.S. in 2014 – around one person every 16 minutes. Although the country’s rate of traffic deaths per capita has been steadily declining since 1975, it’s clear that the current death toll is still too high.
To formulate a picture of deadly crashes over the past year, we analyzed data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS). We also tackled some pressing questions about fatal accidents: Who are the most likely victims? When are the riskiest times and days to drive? Which states see the most crashes, and which highways are deadliest? We examined risk factors such as drugs, alcohol, and failure to use a seat belt. Keep reading for details about an issue that impacts every person on the road.