Anyone who spends time driving in Washington D.C. knows that there are a lot of cars here. There are now almost 4 million vehicles registered in the District of Columbia and nearby areas of Maryland and Virginia. With a lot of cars comes a lot of accidents. Most of these accidents are minor fender benders; however, some major accidents can lead to serious injuries or death. If you are involved in a car accident, you may know that you'll have to deal with the repair shop and the insurance company. You may also need to contact an attorney to be compensated for your damages and your physical injuries.
Drivers in Washington DC
According to the DC Department of Motor Vehicles (DC DMV), there are almost 450,000 active drivers registered in the District. However, millions more drivers commute to DC from neighboring communities in Maryland and Virginia. D.C. is also host to millions of tourists from around the world. In 2014, more than 20 million people visited D.C., many of them renting a car or driving their own vehicle to visit.
Of course, not all motor vehicle accidents involve personal vehicles. A number of accidents involve public transportation, company vehicles, government vehicles, taxis, rental cars, and commercial vehicles. The DC Circulator's 6 bus routes service 5 million riders each year. Almost 6,000 taxis pick up and drop off riders throughout the area, and in recent years, Uber and Lyft have provided additional ride-sharing services to residents and visitors.
Washington D.C. is also home to some of the worst traffic in the country. Analysts estimate that the average driver will spend 7 hours a year in traffic, wasting 6 gallons of gas. However, for D.C. drivers, one estimate found the average driver is spending 67 hours a year in traffic, wasting 32 gallons of gas while sitting in traffic.
Insurance in DC
According to the Insurance Information Institute, almost 12% of motorists in Washington D.C. are uninsured. When registering your car in Washington D.C., you are required to show proof of motor vehicle insurance. Drivers are also supposed to maintain the minimum insurance coverage. However, some drivers fail to keep their insurance either because their insurance company drops them, they think they cannot afford the payments, or they simply forget to renew their policy. This is one reason Washington D.C. has uninsured motorist coverage requirements.
Washington D.C. also has some of the highest insurance rates in the country. According to one survey of auto insurance rates, D.C. ranks 6th in the country for highest average premiums. The survey found the average driver in D.C. pays $1,773 a year in car insurance.
DC Accident Statistics
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2015, there were 23 traffic fatalities in the District of Columbia. Of those fatal accidents, 6 involved alcohol-impaired driving and 7 involved excessive speed. Another 13 people were killed in pedestrian fatalities, and one person was killed in a bicycle accident.
Despite the number of accidents in Washington D.C., the District fares better than most states when it comes to traffic deaths per vehicle miles driven and deaths per population. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, over 32,000 people died in fatal accidents in the U.S. in 2014.
In D.C., there were only 23 deaths in fatal accidents. With a population of just over 650,000, that represents 3.5 traffic deaths per 100,000 population. That is the lowest rate in the country. Neighboring Maryland has a death per 100,000 population rate at more than twice D.C.'s at 7.4. In Virginia, that number is even higher at 8.4. The state with the highest rate of deaths per 100,000 population is Wyoming with a rate of 25.7.
Accounting for miles driven also has D.C. lower than a lot of other states. Almost 3.5 billion vehicle miles were traveled in D.C. in 2014, representing a death rate of 0.65 per 100 million vehicle miles traveled. In Maryland, that number is 0.78, and in Virginia, the rate is 0.87. The state with the highest death rate based on miles traveled is 1.65 in South Carolina.
Washington DC Personal Injury Attorneys
If you were involved in an automobile accident, you are not alone. It may be overwhelming to deal with your injuries, recovery, and getting back to work, all while fighting with the insurance company. You deserve to have someone on your side to fight for you. Your attorney will work to get you the compensation you deserve. If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident, please contact the team at Gilman & Bedigian for a free consultation.