Car Crash Data – Any Insights?

Car Crash Data – Any Insights?

Based on the following 2018 data released by the NHTSA – it appears that most of the tri-state area is “easy traveling,” when you consider fatal accidents.

While we believe that traffic “data” might lead you to some conclusions – you never get the real story with raw data like this.

Like why does the L.A. area have the highest fatalities – when they seem to be in a state of perpetual traffic jams?

Or how does population density work? Why isn’t there a filter on this map to also rank fatalities per 100,000 trips? Or demographics? Or illegal alien status? Or valid drivers licenses?

This is exactly why “data modeling” is over-hyped, and should only be used as a very minor tool when looking for insights. You might now wonder why social media companies know everything about you – and why you should cut the cord.

The map below shows the total number of motor vehicle deaths for every county in the United States, as reported by the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Counties that are grey had no reported fatalities in 2018. Hover over any county on the map to see the total fatalities in that county.

Map created by Wendt Law Firm

Top 50 Counties by Total Fatalities in 2018

RankCOUNTYSTATE2018 Fatals2017 FatalsInc/Dec2017 Rank
1Los Angeles CountyCALIFORNIA6706581.82%1
2Maricopa CountyARIZONA4904714.03%2
3Harris CountyTEXAS389456-14.69%3
4San Bernardino CountyCALIFORNIA2982941.36%8
5Dallas CountyTEXAS2952872.79%7
6Miami-Dade CountyFLORIDA2932852.81%6
7Riverside CountyCALIFORNIA2922823.55%4
8Cook CountyILLINOIS264271-2.58%5
9San Diego CountyCALIFORNIA25523110.39%9
10Broward CountyFLORIDA2372255.33%10
11Clark CountyNEVADA2202085.77%11
12Palm Beach CountyFLORIDA182190-4.21%19
13Bexar CountyTEXAS181189-4.23%18
14Orange CountyFLORIDA177182-2.75%13
15Orange CountyCALIFORNIA176180-2.22%16
16Hillsborough CountyFLORIDA176178-1.12%12
17Tarrant CountyTEXAS169172-1.74%15
18Wayne CountyMICHIGAN1641640.00%20
19Shelby CountyTENNESSEE158162-2.47%24
20Kern CountyCALIFORNIA144161-10.56%14
21Duval CountyFLORIDA143156-8.33%22
22Sacramento CountyCALIFORNIA134151-11.26%17
23Suffolk CountyNEW YORK1321301.54%25
24Pinellas CountyFLORIDA1301226.56%27
25Fulton CountyGEORGIA1301217.44%29
26Pima CountyARIZONA1251204.17%31
27Polk CountyFLORIDA1231184.24%33
28Travis CountyTEXAS1181161.72%26
29King CountyWASHINGTON1161150.87%34
30Mecklenburg CountyNORTH CAROLINA1151140.88%30
31Fresno CountyCALIFORNIA113114-0.88%21
32Santa Clara CountyCALIFORNIA111113-1.77%38
33Marion CountyINDIANA109111-1.80%39
34DeKalb CountyGEORGIA108111-2.70%42
35San Joaquin CountyCALIFORNIA107111-3.60%28
36Volusia CountyFLORIDA106107-0.93%23
37Philadelphia CountyPENNSYLVANIA103107-3.74%44
38Pasco CountyFLORIDA99105-5.71%37
39Prince George’s CountyMARYLAND95102-6.86%40
40Lee CountyFLORIDA9499-5.05%32
41Bernalillo CountyNEW MEXICO9299-7.07%45
42Jefferson CountyALABAMA9195-4.21%36
43Franklin CountyOHIO9095-5.26%48
44Jackson CountyMISSOURI8994-5.32%35
45El Paso CountyTEXAS8791-4.40%55
46Brevard CountyFLORIDA8590-5.56%52
47Oklahoma CountyOKLAHOMA8590-5.56%46
48New Haven CountyCONNECTICUT8588-3.41%56
49Baltimore CountyMARYLAND8586-1.16%61
50Marion CountyFLORIDA8486-2.33%47

Key Takeaways

Los Angeles County was home to the most motor vehicle fatalities in 2018, with 670 fatalities – a 1.82% increase from 2017. This is not surprising: LA County is not only the most populous county in the state of California, but the most populous county in the nation, with more than 10 million people residing within county lines. That, plus the robust, busy network of highways and freeways, increase the likelihood of higher numbers of fatal crashes.

Maricopa County in Arizona ranks second with 490 total traffic fatalities in 2018. Home to the Phoenix major metropolitan area, Maricopa County is an unfortunate surprise on this list. In 2018, the state of Arizona had 1,010 traffic fatalities – a high number, but far from the top five states with the highest number of fatalities. By comparison, California had 3,563 traffic fatalities – more than three times as many as Arizona. Although Maricopa County is the fourth most populous county in the United States, it has less than half the population of Los Angeles County – with 75% of the total fatalities. This is a serious cause for concern in Arizona, and warrants a serious evaluation of the traffic safety measures in place in Maricopa County.

Harris County in Texas ranks third with 389 traffic fatalities in 2018. Home to the vast Houston metropolitan area, Harris County is the third most populous county in the United States. Interestingly, Harris County had the largest year-over-year decrease in fatalities on this list, having nearly 15% less traffic deaths in 2018 than in the year before. Despite that, it maintained its 2017 rank at third place.

Jackson County ranks on this list as well, in 44th place with 89 total traffic fatalities. However, the county has seemingly made progress on traffic safety, with a 5.32% decrease in fatalities compared to 2017 – dropping nine places from 35th the previous year.

Closing Thoughts

Pinpointing traffic fatalities by county is arguably more valuable for inspiring change on a more significant level for traffic safety in America. By analyzing traffic fatality data on a more granular level, we can gain insight into counties that are hot spots for traffic deaths (such as Maricopa County) that we wouldn’t have otherwise found if looking by state.

In doing so, we can hopefully diriect attention to the counties which have high numbers of traffic activity, empowering counties to investigate these situations and make changes based on these data.

car crashes fatal US counties 720x417 - Car Crash Data - Any Insights?

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