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How Many Traffic Accidents Occur Each Year in California?

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As one of the largest and most populated states in the country, California experiences an above-average number of traffic accidents every year. Knowing how many traffic accidents occur each year in California helps you gain a better understanding of the causes of these accidents, how to do your part in preventing one, and what to do if you or a loved one are involved in an auto accident. 

What are the most recent California car accident statistics?

According to estimates from the Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), there were a reported 147,292 traffic accidents in the state of California in 2020. While this is a decrease from 2019, it can mostly be attributed to a decrease in people on the road as a result of COVID-19 quarantines. Despite this, California still leads the nation in fatal car crashes. Statista reported that of those accidents, 3,723 motor vehicle deaths occurred.

Accidents are not evenly distributed throughout the country, and naturally occur in places with more congestion and people. Due to a growing population, Inland Empire traffic conditions have worsened over the last few years leading to a rise in reported accidents. The Inland Empire region is made up of both the Riverside and San Bernardino counties where more than four million people reside. In 2020, each county reported over 8,000 traffic accidents with San Bernardino recording 322 fatalities. This exceeded both state and national averages. 

What is the leading cause of traffic fatalities in California?

Two men examining fender bender damage - how many traffic accidents occur each year in California?

Beyond the number of accidents, looking at California traffic statistics provides insight into the causes of accidents and fatalities. While collisions occur for a variety of reasons, the data shows us there are several primary causes to be aware of.

One of the leading causes of traffic fatalities in California remains driving under the influence. Not only is it illegal, it is also extremely dangerous to drive intoxicated. SWITRS reported driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs as the cause of 26,757 traffic accidents in 2020, which led to 1,028 deaths and serious injuries.

Also, at the top of the list is distracted driving, which is true across the United States. Most commonly, distractions come in the form of cellphones and other passengers. In 2020, SWITRS listed distracted driving as the cause of more than 11,000 accidents leading to 124 deaths in California. This means that no matter how vigilant you are while driving, simply being on the road puts you at risk of injury from someone else’s negligence. 

Of course, negligence is not always in the form of other drives as evident by the 91 Freeway bridge collapse. In 2015, an equipment error caused the onramp bridge under construction in Corona to collapse. More than 10 people were sent to the hospital with injuries. Avrek Law Firm worked with some of the injured victims and recovered more than $17.3 million in settlements for them.

Can I sue after a car accident in California?

We’re here to help you navigate the process. With more than 50 years of combined experience resolving cases in favor of clients who were wrongfully injured, Avrek Law has recovered more than $1 billion in compensation for injury victims in over 45,000 cases. Contact us for your free consultation to learn more! 

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