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California Car Accident Statistics 2024 – Traffic Fatalities CA

Car accidents are an unfortunately common occurrence. For example, in 2020, California did not have a day in the year without a traffic fatality. Car accidents cause property damage, injury, and death. Even minor accidents can be incredibly traumatic and expensive. As the state has so many drivers on the road, it also has some of the highest accident numbers. Understanding California car accident statistics may help drivers be more cautious and aware on the road.

California Car Accident Statistics by the California Highway Patrol

Based on data collected in 2020 by the California Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), there were 3,982 fatalities in the state and 3,672 fatal accidents, an increase from 2019. This resulted in a fatality rate of 1.33 per 100 million miles traveled. There were 143,476 injury crashes and 203,888 people injured in car accidents, but the number of injury crashes decreased from the year prior. California had a total of 147,148 crashes with both fatalities and injuries.

Causes of California Crashes

In 2020, the primary factor in all crashes, fatal and injury crashes combined, was driving at an unsafe speed. This caused 39,761 injury crashes and 542 fatal crashes. This was a decrease in injury crashes from the year prior and an increase in fatal crashes. Speeding decreases the time that a driver has to react to changes on the road and increases the severity of the damages when a collision does happen. The next most common cause of injury crashes was improper turning, which resulted in 24,611 injury crashes and 646 fatal crashes.

Driving Under the Influence

The primary factor in only fatal crashes was driving or bicycling under the influence, which resulted in 849 fatal crashes and 12,607 injury crashes. Fatal crashes that involved a driver under the influence increased 5.2% from the prior year. Out of the fatal and injury crashes where alcohol was involved, 8,189 happened when a driver proceeded straight, with 3,152 resulting in a rear-end collision.

Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol makes it harder for drivers to make reasoned and rational decisions, and it also slows their reaction times. It endangers everyone on the road. A driver who causes a collision while under the influence faces criminal charges in addition to civil personal injury claims by those who were injured.

Risks to Vulnerable Parties

Fatalities are more common when there are vulnerable parties, like pedestrians, bicyclists, or motorcyclists, who are involved in accidents. Pedestrians are at a higher risk of death when they are in a collision with a motor vehicle. There were a total of 10,111 pedestrians injured and 1,043 pedestrians killed in California in 2020. This was a decrease in injured pedestrians but an increase in fatalities from the year prior.

California Car Accidents Statistics in 2021

In 2021, according to the California Office of Traffic Safety, there were 4,285 traffic fatalities in California, an increase of 7.6% from the previous year. This was a rate of 1.38 fatalities per 100 million miles.

1,370 fatalities occurred when a driver or rider involved was under the influence and had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher, an increase of 16% from the prior year. 52.9% percent of all drivers who were killed in a crash and tested for legal or illegal drugs tested positive.


Q: What Is the Car Accident Rate in California?

A: The car accident rate in California is 373.76. This is based on 2020 data gathered by the California SWITRS, which states that there were a total of 147,148 fatal and injury crashes in 2020. The state had 143,476 injury car crashes, with a rate of 364.43 per 100,000 population. There were also 203,888 injured persons, resulting in a rate of 517.88 per 100,000 population. There were 3,672 fatal crashes, resulting in a rate of 9.33 fatal crashes per 100,000 population.

Q: What State Has the Highest Accident Rate?

A: According to information gathered by the U.S. Department of Transportation in 2021, Mississippi has the highest rate of fatal car accidents, with a rate of 26.2 deaths per 100,000 in the population, while South Carolina has the highest rate of fatal car accidents to miles traveled, with a rate of 2.08 per 100 million miles traveled. These accident rates only address fatal crashes and do not address injury crashes.

Q: Where Do Most Car Accidents Happen in California?

A: In California, most accidents happen in Los Angeles County, based on 2020 data gathered by SWITRS. In Los Angeles County, there were 44,611 injury crashes, with 65,377 victims injured or killed because of these accidents. In the city of Los Angeles, there were 32,255 victims injured or killed in car accidents. San Diego County had the next highest number of injury crashes, with 10,680. Orange County had 8,829 injury crashes, and Riverside County had 8,242.

Q: What Is the Leading Cause of Car Accidents in California?

A: Speeding was the primary cause of crashes in 27.4% of fatal and injury crashes. There were 39,761 injury crashes and 542 fatal crashes in 2020 where the primary crash factor was an unsafe speed, based on 2020 data collected by SWITRS. This was the primary cause of injury crashes but not the primary cause of fatal crashes. Driving or bicycling under the influence was the primary factor in 12,607 injury crashes and 849 fatal crashes, making it the primary cause of fatal crashes. Improper turning was the primary cause of 24,611 injury crashes and 646 fatal crashes.

Heimanson & Wolf, LLP: Supporting Car Accident Victims

If you were in a car accident, you need an experienced car accident attorney by your side. To recover compensation to address property damage and injury costs, you must prove that another party was at fault for the accident. An attorney can help by investigating the accident to determine the cause and at-fault party while you take the time you need to rest.

At Heimanson & Wolf, LLP, we believe strongly in helping victims of accidents recover from their losses with help from compensation. If a car insurance claim does not fully cover your damages, we can help you pursue other methods of compensation. Contact our firm today to see how we can help you.

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