Cars have been getting safer over the years. Many of these developments have allowed us to lower the total traffic deaths from what they used to be. Now, nearly 40,000 people still die in car accidents annually, but even as large of a number as that is, it’s much lower than what was seen before.
The highest total number of deaths that happened in one year was in 1972, when 56,278 people lost their lives in accidents. Since then, though the numbers do tend to rise and fall in waves over a few years, the totals have shown a consistent decline.
That said, if you look at the traffic fatalities when compared to the rate of death, 1972 was not the worst. The rate was 26.9 deaths for every 100,000 people in the United States. Due to the vastly lower population totals in previous years, the high point for the death rate was in 1937. That year, though only 39,643 people lost their lives in those accidents, the rate was 30.8 per 100,000 people.
How does that compare to modern statistics? In 2018, a total of 39,404 people died in car accidents. That worked out to just 12 deaths for every 100,000 people in the country.
That’s how we know that things are getting safer. As the population continues to grow, the total deaths may not fall as much as we’d like, but the rate is far lower than it has been in the past.
Even so, with this many accidents happening year in and year out, it’s important for drivers to know their legal options.