February 14, 2005

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety releases 2003 statistics

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety released its figures for 2003, revealing that in the United States, 42,643 people died in motor vehicle crashes that year, making it the leading cause of death for people under the age of 34.

Contributing factors included alcohol, speed, lack of seat belt use and “other problematic driver behaviours”. Death rates vary widely by vehicle type, driver age and gender.

The IIHS has been compiling crash death statistics since 1975 and reports that while the U.S. population has grown steadily, the rate of motor vehicle crash deaths per 100,000 people has declined by 29 per cent since then. However, declines in the last decade have been smaller. The death rate increased among motorcyclists, but decreased among passenger car occupants (including SUVs, light trucks and vans), bicyclists, and pedestrians.

Of the 2003 motor vehicle fatalities, 75 per cent were passenger vehicle occupants, 11 per cent were pedestrians, 8 per cent were motorcyclists, 1 per cent were bicyclists, and 2 per cent were occupants of large trucks.

The highest crash death rate per 100,000 was that of people of both sexes between the ages of 16 and 24. Among males only, the highest death rate was among those 85 years and older. Males of all ages had a higher crash death rate than females of all ages.

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