In 2019, the United States had the highest population-based traffic fatality rate — 11.1 per 100,000 population — as compared with 28 other high-income countries, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
That translates into 2.3 times higher than the average rate — 4.8 per 100,000 population — for all other high-income countries covered in the report.
To measure progress in reducing motor vehicle crash deaths, the CDC calculated population-based, distance-based, and vehicle-based death rates in 2015 and 2019 for the U.S. and 28 other high-income countries for which data were available.
The U.S. statistics in all three categories highlight the lack of progress the nation had made in reducing roadway deaths.
For example, the 2019 U.S. distance-based death rate — 1.11 per 100 million vehicle miles traveled — was higher than the average rate of 0.92 among 20 other high-income countries. Moreover, the 2019 U.S. vehicle-based death rate — 1.21 per 10,000 registered vehicles — was higher than the average rate of 0.78 among 27 other high-income countries.
The report also evaluates average percent changes from 2015 to 2019, as it concerns crash deaths in various countries. The number of crash deaths from 2015 to 2019 decreased in 21 countries and increased in seven countries — including in the U.S. Specifically, the U.S. experienced a 2.5% increase, rising from 35,484 deaths in 2015 to 36,355 deaths in 2019.
To put that into context, of the 29 countries, percent changes in crash deaths ranged from a 27.5% decrease in South Korea to an 11.8% increase in Denmark. The average percent change was −8.1%.
The upshot of the report is that motor vehicle crashes are preventable, yet continue to be a leading cause of death in the U.S. resulting in an average of 36,791 deaths each year — or 101 deaths each day — during 2015-2019.