ambulance on the side of the road in front of a small silver car with a crashes front and back bumper

What Are the Most Common Crashes in Kansas?

Kansas Crash Facts from 2016 to 2020

Each day, millions of vehicle miles are traveled in Kansas by people commuting to and from work, going on road trips, or running errands. Although no one anticipates being involved in a collision, with so many motorists on the road, this is a reality for thousands of drivers and passengers each year.

From 2016 to 2020, Kansas averaged 60,602 motor vehicle accidents. When examining this data from the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT), there are many consistencies throughout this five-year period. Keep reading to learn more about the different circumstances that occur most frequently in these car crashes.

Driver Error Contributes to Most Crashes

Throughout the study time period, the top five contributing circumstances related to crashes were driver inattention, animals, right of way violations, following too closely, and speeding. On average, these five factors were involved in 56.42% of crashes, with the four "driver error" categories making up about 43.56%.

It's important to note that these driver errors are all preventable when remaining attentive to the road and reducing speeds. Likewise, when driving at night, especially in rural areas, drivers should be mindful to slow down and check for animals that could likely dart into the road.

Over 20% of Crashes Result in Injury

In terms of crash severity, Kansas had about 12,865 injury crashes on average in this period. This makes up about 21.2% of crashes in the state. In contrast, there was an average of only about 379 fatalities.

The fatal crash rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled was on a steady decline until 2020. And despite about 5 billion fewer vehicle miles traveled during this year, there was a 6% increase in fatal crashes. Although there is not a definitive answer for why fatal crashes increased during this time, incident rates of speeding were much higher, which likely was a contributing factor.

More Fatal Crashes Occur in Rural Areas

KDOT defines urban areas as those with more than 5,000 people within the boundary lines. Considering this distinction, it makes sense that over 60% of crashes occur in these areas. However, higher rates of fatal crashes occur in rural areas. In 2016, about 62.7% of fatal crashes happened in a rural area.

There may be several reasons why this is the case. Higher speed limits on highways and less traffic are likely contributing factors. Additionally, rural areas may have much lower law enforcement and emergency response presence, increasing the amount of time it would take for someone to arrive on the scene of a crash.

SUVs are Involved in Second Highest Number of Crashes Annually

KDOT distinguishes between vehicle types when reporting crash data. Although standard cars are involved in the most crashes each year, sports utility vehicles (SUVs) have the second-highest number, averaging about 19,526 crashes annually.

Considering this, it may be easy to assume that there are just more SUVs registered in the state; however, this is not the case. Recent reports show that the Ford F-150 is the most popular vehicle in Kansas when looking at new and used car sales.

Nearly 10% of Fatal Crashes Involved Motorcycles

Despite making up less than 1% of vehicles involved in traffic crashes, motorcycles account for about 10% of fatalities on average. Many reasons can contribute to this. For one, motorcycles provide very little protection to the rider, and even if they are wearing all the appropriate safety gear, it may not be enough to completely reduce the risk of severe injuries.

Additionally, motorcyclists are more vulnerable to being hit by other vehicles because they are much smaller and can be harder to see. It's important for all drivers to be aware of their surroundings and always check twice for motorcycles before changing lanes or making a turn.

Learn more: How Cars Cause Motorcycle Crashes

Tips for Crash Prevention

The best way to prevent crashes is to be a defensive driver. This means being aware of your surroundings, obeying all traffic laws, and not driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Don't forget to put away any distractions so you can focus on the task of driving.

It’s also important to always buckle up and make sure everyone in your vehicle is properly restrained before setting out on your trip. This has proven to be one of the most effective ways to reduce the possibility of sustaining fatal injuries in a crash.

Kansas Car Accident Attorneys Protecting Your Future

The team at Bretz Injury Law is here to help all Kansas drivers seek justice for injuries sustained in a crash with a negligent driver. Backed by 30 years of experience, Attorney Matthew L. Bretz has what it takes to help you achieve a successful result. Get started today by calling (620) 234-8880 to schedule a free consultation.

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