Run-Off-Road Accidents Account for Over Half of Traffic Fatalities

Run-Off-Road collision fatalities

According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)[1], from 2014 to 2016 an average of 18,779 fatalities resulted from road departures; this accounts for 53% of all traffic fatalities in the United States. The U.S. Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that run-off-road collisions (RORs) accounted for 70% of all fatal single-vehicle crashes; the other 30% comes from crashes where the car stays on the road.

Key Factors Influencing Road Departure Crashes.

According to the FHWA, focusing on three objectives can reduce the number and severity of run-off-road collisions:

  • Keep vehicles in their lanes and on the roadway.
  • Reduce the probability of very harmful crashes when vehicles do leave the road or cross into opposing traffic lanes.
  • Reduce the severity of a roadway departure crash should one occur.

To reduce off-road wrecks, the FHWA traditionally divides its approaches into two strategies: the systemic and spot location approaches.

  • The systemic approach: This strategy focuses on eliminating risk factors, such as narrow lanes, poor road markings, or the lack of edge lines and rumble strips, that are common factors in run-off-road collisions across multiple locations.
  • The spot location approach: This approach looks at specific accident hotspots and how to reduce risk factors in those areas.

A newer approach, known as the safe system approach[2], is a comprehensive one that covers both infrastructure issues and human factors. 

Some key human factors include:


One of the major causes of roadway departure crashes is excessive speed. According to a report published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration[3], around 29% of all traffic fatalities involved excessive speed in 2021. That was an increase of 8% from the previous year.

In addition to physical measures, the NHTSA is also engaging in education programs, aiming to raise awareness of the dangers of speeding[4].

If a speeding driver rear-ended you, we may be able to help you cover expenses with pre-settlement funding for rear-end accidents.

Impaired Driving

Driving while impaired is another leading cause of vehicle accidents. Impaired drivers have slower reaction times and poorer decision-making capabilities than those who are not under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This makes it difficult for them to judge their speed and take curves in the road correctly, increasing the risk of off-road wrecks or broadside collisions

The NHTSA states that 37 people in the United States die in drunk-driving-related traffic accidents every day. Between 2020 and 2021, the number of annual drunk-driving-related deaths increased by 14%[5].

Simple measures such as encouraging intoxicated individuals (or those planning to get intoxicated) to use ridesharing services as a way of getting home could go a long way toward helping keep drunk drivers off the roads.

Distracted Driving

Similar to impaired driving, distracted driving affects your ability to safely pay attention to the act of driving. Types of distractions may include drowsiness, talking on the phone, texting, changing the radio, and other passenger interference. 

Distracted driving has become far more commonplace in recent years, thanks to the increasing ubiquity of smartphones. Between 2012 and 2021, the percentage of drivers using hand-held electronic devices increased by 127%[6], according to data from the National Safety Council.

Distracted driving is a serious issue, claiming 3,522 lives in 2021[7], and 11.7% of fatal crashes in that year involved the use of cell phones, according to the National Safety Council.

Our car accident pre-settlement funding could help you cover your costs if a distracted driver injured you.

Seat Belt Use

Despite the known benefits of seat belt usage, only 91.9% of people wear seat belts, according to 2023 statistics from the NHTSA[8].

Education and enforcement can help increase seat belt use and ultimately decrease the severity of crashes that may occur. Using lap and shoulder seat belts can reduce the risk of car accident fatalities by as much as 45%[9] and the risk of moderate to critical injuries by 50%.

Drivers Age

Another factor to take into account includes the driver’s age, especially as the population overall is getting older. Drivers aged 70 and older are more at risk for accidents than younger drivers, often because of changes in vision, cognitive issues and side effects of medication[10].

As we age, our vision gets poorer, and our peripheral vision, depth perception, and reflexes tend to suffer, with fatal crash rates increasing at the age of 70. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)[10], 5,209 people aged 70 or over died in vehicle crashes in 2021.

Raising awareness of the risks of driving in old age and encouraging older motorists to take extra care to avoid driving when distracted or during difficult conditions could reduce the risk of crashes.

We offer drowsy driver lawsuit funding, which could assist you if an excessively fatigued driver injured you and you’re concerned about covering the costs.

Strategies to Prevent Road Departure Crashes

Road safety experts believe that some simple infrastructure improvements could prevent off-road wrecks.

Among these improvements are the use of rumble strips[11] to alert drivers when they’re leaving their lanes and making lanes wider in certain areas to reduce the risk of crashes.

In addition to these infrastructure improvements, new safety features on cars could help make roadways safer. For example, lane departure warning systems[12] provide an extra layer of safety to prevent distracted drivers from veering out of their lanes.

These safety features are not a primary means of defense, however. It’s vital drivers learn the importance of defensive driving, taking regular breaks, and not driving while tired or distracted.

For those involved in an off-road wreck, pre-settlement funding can offer peace of mind, but prevention should always be the first goal.

Pre-Settlement Funding Offers Crucial Support

If you have initiated an auto accident lawsuit surrounding a run-off-road collision but worry about your ability to keep up with all your expenses, call USClaims.

At USClaims, we offer pre-settlement funding. If a case qualifies for pre-settlement funding, we would purchase a portion of the proceeds of the anticipated court judgment or settlement for some cash now. Car accident settlement amounts may vary, depending on the details of the case. USClaims only gets paid when you receive your settlement or court awardApply now or call us today at 1-877-USCLAIMS to learn more.

The availability of pre-settlement funding varies by state. Contact USClaims for more information.


  1. Roadway Departure.” Federal Highway Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation,
  2. “Safe System Approach to Road Safety | California Active Transportation Safety Information Pages (CATSIP).”,
  3. “Almost One-Third of Traffic Fatalities Are Speed-Related Crashes | NHTSA.”,
  4. “Speeding.” NHTSA, 13 May 2019,
  5. NHTSA. “Drunk Driving.” NHTSA, United States Department of Transportation, 11 Jan. 2019,
  6. NSC. “Distracted Driving – Injury Facts.” Injury Facts, 2016,
  7. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. “Distracted Driving.” National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, United States Department of Transportation, 5 Nov. 2020,
  8.  “Seat Belts – Injury Facts.” Injury Facts, 2019,“
  9. Seat Belts | NHTSA.”,
  10. “Older Adult Drivers | Motor Vehicle Safety | CDC Injury Center.”, 3 Nov. 2020,
  11. “Frequently Asked Questions – Safety | Federal Highway Administration.”,
  12. “Driver Assistance Technologies | NHTSA.”,
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