Fatal Traffic, When and Where

There were 31,917 recorded fatal car crashes in the United States in 2015. These led to 35,092 deaths. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, this means “7.2% more people died in traffic-related accidents in 2015 than in 2014. This unfortunate data point breaks a recent historical trend of fewer deaths occurring per year.”

I looked at 2010 data several years ago. It seems like a good time to revisit. I aggregated by day in my original graphic, but I think John Nelson used a better format (also several years ago) to look at crashes by month and time of day.

So I borrowed John’s format to apply to the most recent data, breaking it up by area (rural or urban) and factors involved (alcohol, pedestrians, or weather).

Crashes were just about evenly split between rural and urban areas. However, as you’d expect, pedestrians are involved in a much lower percentage of crashes in the former. Fewer people walking around means fewer crashes with walkers.

Alcohol appears to play a bigger role in rural areas though with higher percentages starting earlier in the evening.

Anyways, I’m just starting to poke at the data. There seems to be a lot of angles to look at (along with a lot of gaps in the dataset). I’ll let you know if I find anything interesting.

Notes

  • I suspected to see a high percentage of distracted driving to include in the factors list, but most crashes do not include distraction information.
  • Each crash has latitude and longitude attached. At the national scale, the data looks like population density. Although note the emergence of highways and roads:

    I suspect a need to look locally to find more interesting things.
  • There is a field in the dataset that marks crashes as occurring in urban or rural areas. However, a couple thousand crashes are not classified. So instead, I used the urban area shapefile for 2015 from the Census Bureau to re-classify the crashes.

Become a member.
Get unlimited access to tutorials, courses, and practical guides. Make great charts.

Join Today

Membership

This is for people interested in the process of creating, designing, and exploring data graphics. Your support goes directly to FlowingData, an independently run site.

What You Get

  • Learn to make any chart with instant access to step-by-step tutorials.
  • Download source code and files to use with your own data.
  • In-depth courses on visualization to learn at your own pace.
  • Stay up-to-date with additional resources and visualization tools.
  • Get the members-only newsletter.

Favorites

Interactive: When Do Americans Leave For Work?

We don’t all start our work days at the same time, despite what morning rush hour might have you think.

Think Like a Statistician – Without the Math

I call myself a statistician, because, well, I’m a statistics graduate student. However, the most important things I’ve learned are less formal, but have proven extremely useful when working/playing with data.

Data, R, and a 3-D Printer

We almost always look at data through a screen. It’s quick and good for exploration. So is there value in making data physical? I played around with a 3-D printer to find out.

Graphical perception – learn the fundamentals first

Before you dive into the advanced stuff – like just about everything in your life – you have to learn the fundamentals before you know when you can break the rules.