Motor Vehicle-Related Injuries

Motor Vehicle-Related Injuries

There were an estimated 3.6 million motor vehicle-related injuries in the United States in 2003, according to data reported to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)1 (box 3-C) [1]. An estimated 3.3 million of these injuries involved motor vehicle occupants. The rest involved about 133,000 motorcyclists, 127,000 pedestrians, and 59,000 pedalcyclists.

More females than males were treated for minor injuries in 2003 across most age groups (figure 3-6). The 20 to 24 age group sustained almost 494,000 minor motor vehicle-related injuries, 53 percent of them by females. For serious injuries, more males than females were treated across all age groups up to about 75 years (figure 3-7). Again, serious injuries spiked at ages 20 to 24, but male injuries spiked substantially higher. This age group incurred over 41,000 serious injuries in 2003, 62 percent of which happened to males.

In summary, there were sharp peaks in injuries associated with youth: for motor vehicle occupants and motorcyclists, the peak spanned ages 15 to 24; for pedalcyclists and pedestrians, the peak spanned ages 10 to 14. Young males exhibited a substantially greater peak in serious injuries than young females. In addition, the percentage of injuries classified as serious was greater for motorcyclists (20 percent of all motorcyclist injuries were serious), pedestrians (18 percent), and pedalcyclists (13 percent) than it was for motor vehicle occupants (7 percent) (figure 3-8).

This analysis is the second update of a Bureau of Transportation Statistics comprehensive study originally conducted using 2001 data from the CPSC's National Electronic Injury Surveillance System.2


1. U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS), available at, as of February 2005.

2. U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Traffic Safety Facts 2003, available at, as of March 2005.

1 Because of methodological and other differences, motor vehicle-related injury data from CPSC differ from those estimated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) of the U.S. Department of Transportation. For 2003, NHTSA reported an estimated 2.9 million highway injuries [2].

2 For details on 2001 and 2002 motor vehicle-related injuries, see October 2003 and September 2004 editions of Transportation Statistics Annual Report, available at, as of March 2005.