Columbus Car Crashes by the Numbers: How Many, Which Kinds, and When They Happen
People have been writing about traffic accidents since the dawn of the vehicle, and yet all these years later, the news hasn’t gotten any better.
Accidents happen every day. Many of them are serious. Some of them are fatal.
Indeed, right here in Columbus, innocent people suffer harm in car crashes with striking frequency. The statistics — which we’re going to dive into in some detail below — paint quite a picture.
Driving around our city, it’s easy to get lulled into a false sense of comfort. After all, most of your trips on the road don’t involve a collision.
It is unsettling, then, to suddenly realize that quite a few accidents happen right here in the place you call home — on the same streets you travel every day.
Hauntingly, the statistics impress upon us a sobering reality: many of our community members have lost their lives making the same commutes we all make on a regular basis.
How We Access the Car Accident Statistics for Columbus, OH (And How You Can Too)
Statistics are vital for understanding the reality of a situation. Fortunately, the State of Ohio maintains extensive data about the auto accidents in our state and, unlike some other jurisdictions, makes those readily accessible online.
In this article, we analyze a tremendous amount of data specific to Columbus. However, the city presents a bit of a challenge because, while most of it is located within Franklin County, parts of Columbus also extend into three other counties: Delaware, Pickaway, and Fairfield.
Because the state breaks data down by county first and then by city, the numbers we offer below reflect that portion of Columbus located within Franklin County (that is, the majority of the city). And, unless otherwise noted, the numbers come from the calendar year 2017 — the most recent full year on record.
Want to run some reports of your own? Head over to the Ohio Department of Public Safety Crash Statistics website, click on FIPS (to search by county and city), and choose the reports you’d like to see. From there, you can access data for other time periods and/or for Delaware, Pickaway, and Fairfield counties.
Columbus Traffic Accident Stats: Crashes, Fatalities, and Property Damage
Below, we look at each and every accident that resulted in property damage, injury, or death in Columbus (Franklin County) during 2017:
|Month in 2017||Number of Columbus Auto Accidents with a Fatality||Number of Columbus Auto Accidents with Injuries||Number of Columbus Auto Accidents with Property Damage||Totals for Columbus, OH|
What Types of Car Crashes Are Most Common in Columbus, OH?
It probably comes as no surprise that rear-end collisions account for the largest number of car wrecks in Columbus. Crashes at an angle aren’t far behind, followed by same-direction sideswipes, back-up impacts, and head-on collisions. See the breakdown below.
|Manner of Collision||Fatal||Injury||Property Damage||Total|
|Sideswipe, same direction||1||352||3,185||3,538|
|Sideswipe, opposite direction||0||70||424||494|
|Not Collision Between Two Vehicles in Transport||30||1,359||2,609||3,998|
What Is the Most Dangerous Day of the Week for Driving in Columbus?
It’s a question worth asking. Traffic experts recommend avoiding the roads as much as possible during days, hours, and seasons that are associated with higher traffic accident rates.
In Columbus, though, figuring out just when that is can be difficult.
For example, in 2017, Saturdays and Sundays had the fewest number of traffic accidents (3,060 and 2,596, respectively). Conversely, those days claimed the highest number of lives (11 each in Franklin County’s Columbus alone). In terms of fatalities, Mondays trailed just behind with a total of ten deaths in 2017.
Fridays had the highest number of accidents overall (4,168), but their death toll falls in the middle, with six.
As for injuries, Wednesdays and Fridays were the only two days to exceed 1,000. Sundays had the fewest injuries (655).
The moral of the story here: exercise caution daily. Use common sense, and be especially careful during rush hour, in low visibility, and during high-traffic seasons (such as the holiday shopping rush).
The Top 20 Most Common Causes of Columbus Car Accidents
It’s also helpful to understand the bad behaviors that lead to Columbus car crashes in the first place.
Unfortunately, drivers often allow themselves to become inattentive, hurried, or distracted while driving, leading to accidents like these:
- Following too closely, i.e. tailgating (7,155)
- Failure to control (4,072)
- Failure to yield (3,525)
- Improper lane changing or passing / off road (2,144)
- Unknown (1,562)
- Running a red light (879)
- Improper backing (651)
- No cause recorded (589)
- Improper turn (546)
- Running a stop sign (433)
- Traveling left of center (245)
- Other improper action (222)
- Negligent driving (153)
- Speeding (103)
- Wrong way travel (93)
- Animal in error (71)
- Swerving to avoid, due to external conditions (65)
- TIE: Operating a defective vehicle (63) & Load shifting / falling / spilling (63)
- Motorist not in error but cause unknown (58)
- Improper crossing by a non-motorist (57)
In looking at these numbers, it’s important to realize that police officers might record only one “probable cause of crash,” inferring the cause from the contributing circumstances. In reality, there may be many negligent driving behaviors acting in concert. For example, a driver who fails to yield may also be speeding, weaving, and texting while driving all at the same time. The officer may choose to record only one of these probable causes, or may otherwise be unaware of the additional contributing circumstances.
Indeed, distracted driving is almost certainly underrepresented in these numbers. The national texting-and-driving epidemic is on widespread display in Columbus, as you have probably seen for yourself.
You might also wonder about the prevalence of alcohol and impaired driving in Columbus. Those statistics are tracked separately. During the same time period and in the same part of Columbus, alcohol was implicated in 936 crashes, 478 injuries, and eight deaths.
This much, however, is clear: the overwhelming majority of Columbus auto accidents are caused by preventable driver error. This fact is consistent with national and global statistics as well.
The road would be a much safer place if only everyone would be careful.
What About 2018 So Far?
While the statistics above are based on 2017 (the most recent full year on record), we already have an idea of how 2018 is shaping up for Columbus drivers — and the numbers aren’t encouraging.
At the time of this writing, there have already been 12,619 traffic accidents in our city, inclusive of 3,357 injuries and 37 deaths in the Franklin County portion of Columbus alone.
Why Does This Happen?
It would be comforting, perhaps, to assume that the victims in these crashes were at fault… that by being more careful than they were, we can avoid the same harm.
Certainly, we would all be wise to drive as cautiously as possible. But the truth is that most auto accidents are caused by an individual driver’s negligence. All the other people injured or killed in the collision are, unfortunately, innocent victims — caught up in someone else’s carelessness, often in the blink of an eye.
Injured in a Car Accident in Columbus? Contact Our Experienced Attorneys Today.
If you or someone you love has been injured or killed in an Ohio car crash, please contact the Columbus auto accident attorneys at Colombo Law right away.
Here’s our promise to you:
- A free case evaluation with absolutely no obligation to hire us
- Honest guidance and advice
- We will never charge you a fee unless and until we recover damages for you
- Our experienced lawyers will fight hard to maximize your financial recovery
- Colombo Law will advance all your court costs and fees. You never have to pay anything upfront.
- Everyone in our office will devote the passion, time, and attention your claim deserves.
Come find out why we have a 99% success rate. Contact Colombo Law and schedule a free Columbus auto accident consultation right away.