Race and Ethnicity Inequality in US Car Accident Statistics

by | Aug 29, 2023 | Top Stories Featured


Car accidents are a significant concern in the United States, affecting individuals of all backgrounds. However, recent studies have shed light on how race and ethnicity play a role in these accidents. This article delves into car accident statistics related to race and ethnicity, providing insights from various sources.

Racial Disparities in Car Accident Fatalities

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), car accident statistics for 2019 reveal distinct disparities in fatalities based on race and ethnicity. These disparities are concerning and emphasize the need for a closer examination.

A Closer Look at the Numbers

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) provides a detailed breakdown of car accident fatalities by race and ethnicity. Their data indicates that Black and Hispanic individuals are disproportionately affected by car accidents, with higher fatality rates than White and Asian Americans. In fact, data has shown that Black individuals have a 73% higher death rate from automobile accidents than whites.

Child and Adolescent Vulnerability

The issue of racial disparities in car accidents also extends to children and adolescents. A study published in Pediatrics found that young Black and Hispanic individuals face a higher risk of motor vehicle crash deaths than their White counterparts. This statistic highlights the importance of addressing these disparities, especially among young drivers.

Understanding the Root Causes

To comprehend these disparities fully, it’s essential to explore the underlying causes. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) released a report titled “Driving While Black: Racial Profiling on Our Nation’s Highways,” highlighting racial profiling and its role in traffic stops and accidents.

The Role of Social Determinants

A study published in Social Science & Medicine delves into structural racism and its impact on car accidents. This research emphasizes the importance of considering social determinants, such as economic disparities and access to healthcare, in understanding racial disparities in car accident statistics.


Car accident statistics in the United States are not uniform across racial and ethnic groups. Black and Hispanic Americans face a higher risk of fatalities in car accidents, particularly among young individuals. Addressing these disparities requires a multifaceted approach considering factors like racial profiling and social determinants. By acknowledging and addressing these issues, we can work toward safer roads for everyone, regardless of race or ethnicity. 

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