Motor Vehicle Safety


Mother buckling baby in car set photoMotor vehicle crashes are among the leading causes of death for Americans in their first three decades of life.

In 2013, more than 32,000 people died in crashes. Deaths from motor vehicle crashes nationwide cost an estimated $41 billion annually, and injuries from motor vehicle crashes annually cost more than $80 billion in medical and work loss costs.

Alcohol-impaired accidents accounted for nearly one-third of motor vehicle deaths in 2012. In addition, child passengers, teen drivers and older adult drivers are at a high risk of injury or death related to motor vehicles. For example, per mile driven, teen drivers ages 16 to 19 are nearly three times more likely than drivers aged 20 and older to be in a fatal crash.

States seek to prevent motor vehicle injuries and deaths through multiple aspects of traffic safety laws. These strategies include: distracted driving and cell phone use policies; ignition interlocks and 24/7 sobriety programs for those convicted of alcohol-related offenses; child safety seats and seat belt laws; and graduated driver’s licensing programs for teens.

For more information on state actions to improve motor vehicle safety, please see NCSL’s Traffic Safety Legislation Online Tracking Database. To view current state actions related to other injury and violence prevention topics, please visit NCSL's Injury and Violence Prevention Legislation Database.

Return to the injury and violence prevention overview page to learn about other topics and additional resources.

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