Motor Vehicle Safety - Injury and Incidence Statistics
The following statistics are the latest available from Safe Kids Worldwide, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC):
Injury and death rates
- Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death to children ages 3 to 14 in the United States.
- During 2009, 5,366 passenger vehicle occupants age 4 and under were involved in fatal crashes.
- Nearly 50 percent of children ages 14 and under killed in motor vehicle crashes were not safely restrained.
- From 1999 to 2005, restraint use improved from 15 percent to 73 percent for children 0 to 8 years old.
- An estimated 1,700 children’s lives were saved between 1996 and 2002 due to being seated in a back seat.
- Children are more likely to be properly restrained when the driver is properly restrained.
Where and when
- The majority of motor vehicle crashes occur within 25 miles of home.
- Most crashes occur in areas where the speed limit is 40 mph or less.
- There are approximately 42 percent more fatal crashes in rural settings than urban ones. Crashes in rural areas tend to be more severe.
Who is at risk
- African American children ages 4 to 7 have the lowest restraint use among children, an estimated 26 percent are not restrained while riding in a motor vehicle.
- Children 2 to 5 years of age who are placed prematurely in vehicle safety belts are four times more likely to suffer a serious head injury in a crash than those restrained in child safety seats or booster seats.
Safety restraint statistics
- About 73 percent of child safety seats or booster seats are improperly used.
- There were 159 reported fatal injuries associated with airbag deployment that occurred between 1993 and 2002 for children 0 to 12 years of age. All of these children were either unrestrained or improperly restrained.
- Properly installed and used child safety seats can reduce the risk of death by 71 percent for infants and 54 percent for children ages 1 to 4.
Reviewed by: Gina P. Duchossois, MS
Date: July 2011