California Car Accident Statistics

Author: Mesriani Law Group
Posted on: May 17, 2019

The lack of competence, driving under the influence, and negligence are just some of the many reasons why car accidents happen. To put this into perspective, 12 percent of nationwide auto incident-related deaths occur in California.

Car crashes and other traffic accidents in California are always a possibility due to the high volume of cars in the state. Thousands of vehicles get into accidents annually, all of which include both minor and major crashes that result in property damage or death. Though Los Angeles has made efforts to alleviate this matter, other counties continue to suffer from high accident rates on the road.

Knowing the different causes of such incidents can prevent you from experiencing it. It is also essential to review the car accident statistics from previous years to understand the gravity of this issue.

Why Car Accidents Happen in California

The causes of car accidents in California vary, but there are a few common reasons why they occur. Besides speeding and drunk driving, one of the most frequent causes of car accidents is due to distracted driving. Thousands of distracted driving cases across the nation end up having fatalities.

Also, texting while driving is illegal in California. Using your phone while driving is only allowed if you have a hands-free feature or voice-activated control for your device. However, despite these existing laws, hundreds of thousands continue to violate them and receive tickets for using their phone while driving every year. Distracted driving has become a significant problem in California, having 80 percent of cases involving some form of it.

Car Accident Statistics in California from 2016 to 2018

Automotive accidents cause pain and suffering every year to thousands of people in California. Even though most of these cases are preventable, the state continues to experience high crash rates annually. Below are a few of the California car accident statistics from 2016 to 2018.


The National Safety Council dubbed 2016 as the deadliest year for U.S. roads since 2007. California experienced 3,837 motor-vehicle related fatalities in 2016 according to the car accident statistics of the Information Insurance Institute. The number of deaths due to car accidents exceeded the national average, which had a 13 percent increase compared to the previous year. Los Angeles, in particular, had a total of 260 deaths due to traffic incidents which was a 43 percent increase compared to 2015.


California had a total of car accident-related 3,602 deaths in 2017. According to the Insurance Information Institute, 9 percent of fatal car crashes involved some form of distraction. Los Angeles saw a 22 percent increase in car accident statistics compared to 2016. Pedestrian fatalities also shot up to 135 during this year, which was 74 in 2015 and 115 in 2016.


In 2018, California had 1,538 deaths in the first six months. This was a 3 percent increase compared to 2017’s first two quarters. There were 48 injury deaths for every 100,000 population of the state, lower than the national average of 65. There had also been 127 pedestrian deaths due to car crashes during this year, which was a decrease compared to 2017. Despite the dip in numbers, car accidents remain the top cause of unintentional injury deaths in California.

Know the Statute of Limitations for Car Accidents in California

It is vital to know car accident laws so that there’s accountability for damages when traffic-related incidents happen. These laws dictate how one should be compensated when you become a victim. Along with this, know that California has a different statute of limitations on car accidents depending on the type and gravity of the collision.

You are obligated by state law to report the incident that caused personal injury or property damage within the next ten days after the crash. This report should provide the time of the accident, the location, information of the involved parties, insurance details, damage or injuries sustained from the incident, and other relevant information.

Read our entry about the statute of limitations on car accidents to learn more details about this topic.

Seek Car Accident Lawyers for Legal Help

It is never easy looking at car crash statistics. Drivers who don’t adhere to traffic laws or pay attention to their driving can increase these numbers and cause casualties and other damages. So if you ever get into a car accident, make sure you know what to do.

If the incident involves a negligent or distracted driver, you may be able to get a personal injury claim. Never negotiate with the other party on your own regarding the amount of compensation you should get from the accident. The party at fault may hire a lawyer who is more knowledgeable about legal loopholes, which may lead you to lose your claim and compensation. On top of this, insurance adjusters would do their best to negotiate down your claims or render the liabilities void.

The best thing to do is to seek expert legal counsel from experienced car accident lawyers in Los Angeles. Having a professional as a representative prevents you from making mistakes in negotiation and ensure a higher compensation for the damages you’ve sustained.