Vehicle Traffic Crashes are Leading Cause of Death in the US

Car crashes remain one of the leading causes of death, especially among young drivers, according to a new report published by the NHTSA:

In 2014, for the sixth consecutive year, motor vehicle traffic crashes were not among the top 10 causes of death in the United States. Motor vehicle crashes were the 13th leading cause of death from 2012 to 2014.

When ranked by age, motor vehicle traffic crashes were the number one cause of death among people 16 to 24 years old for each year 2012 to 2014. Motor vehicle crashes were also the number one leading cause of death for 11-year-old children in 2014, as well as for 4-year-old children in 2013. Similarly, motor vehicle traffic crashes were the number one leading cause of death for 13-year-olds and those 16 to 25 in 2012. This continued drop in the rank of motor vehicle traffic crashes as a leading cause of death can be attributed to the 25-percent decline in traffic fatalities over the last decade. Nevertheless, despite this drop, motor vehicle traffic crashes continue to be among top 10 leading causes of death among the younger age groups.

Download and read the entire report (pdf) here.

This research note was written by Caitlin Webb, statistician, Bowhead Logistics Solutions, LLC, working with the Mathematical Analysis Division, National Center for Statistics and Analysis, NHTSA. For questions regarding the information presented in this research note, please contact


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