Nobody expects to be involved in one of the worst car accidents in American history. Yet as data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) suggests, car crash fatalities have risen. Indeed, the rate of deadly motor vehicle collisions has spiked sharply in recent years. Between 2020 and 2021, fatal collisions rose by more than 10%. That number — nearly 43,000 deaths — places current rates of fatalities at a 16-year high. While fatalities are at a record high, have the worst crashes of all time occurred in recent years? Consider some of the following information about severe and deadly crashes in Ohio and across the country.
Common Causes of the Worst Motor Vehicle Collisions in U.S. History
What are some of the most common causes of the worst crashes in history? There are many causes of serious motor vehicle collisions in the U.S. and Ohio specifically. The following are frequent causes of severe and deadly accidents.
- Intoxicated driving: The NHTSA estimates that intoxicated driving, which includes both drunk driving and drugged driving, is a factor in about 30% of all deadly accidents.
- Speeding: According to the National Safety Council (NSC), speeding was a factor in 29% of all traffic deaths in 2020, and more than 11,000 people died because of speeding.
- Distracted driving: In Ohio and the U.S., more generally, distracted driving takes many forms and is responsible for more than 3,000 crashes annually, according to the NHTSA, which is a number that is likely underreported.
- Aggressive driving: Across the U.S., aggressive driving can take many forms, such as tailgating or weaving in traffic, and can cause deadly crashes.
- Road rage: According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, road rage involves extremely aggressive driving and can involve ramming, sideswiping, and intentionally forcing another vehicle off the road.
- Inclement weather: Snow and ice, according to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), is a factor in about one-quarter (24%) of all traffic crashes during the winter months in particular.
Types of Car Accidents That are Deadliest
Some types of motor vehicle collisions tend to be deadlier than others. The NHTSA identifies especially dangerous types of crashes. The following are the types of collisions responsible for many of the worst accidents in history:
- Head-on collisions, which involve one vehicle hitting another vehicle head-on and typically result from wrong-way driving due to drowsy driving or intoxicated driving;
- Side-impact or T-bone accidents, which usually occur when a car runs a red light or stop sign and hits a vehicle entering the intersection at a perpendicular angle at full speed;
- Rear-end collisions, which can be relatively minor or severe depending on the speed but can be especially deadly when a vehicle is traveling at a high speed and causes a rear-end collision on a highway or freeway in Ohio or elsewhere in the U.S.;
- Underride accidents, which typically occur when a passenger vehicle crashes into a semi-truck or 18-wheeler from behind and “underrides” the large truck;
- Multi-vehicle pileups, which often happen at high speeds and on highways, can be particularly deadly when inclement weather is also a factor; and
- Rollover accidents, frequently involve SUVs and involve the entire vehicle rolling over at least once.
First Reported Car Accident in Ohio History
The first car accident reported anywhere in the world occurred in Ohio. According to an article in Ohio History Connection, the first crash happened in 1891. It occurred in Ohio City, Ohio. That location is only about 100 miles north of Hamilton, Ohio. Although many people do not realize it, Ohio played a key role in the rise of the U.S. transportation industry. Indeed, although many people remember Michigan, as the article points out, “Ohio innovators in Cleveland and elsewhere were at the forefront of this new form of transportation technology.” That early crash in 1891 involved the driver James William Lambert. It occurred while Lambert was driving the first single-cylinder gasoline automobile, according to the article. Reportedly, he had a single passenger in the vehicle at the time of the crash. The car is said to have “hit a tree root, causing the car to careen out of control and smash into a hitching post.”
Although injuries were minor, this crash was the worst ever at the time, given that it was also the first.
News Stories of the Worst Crashes in History
It seems as though news reports come out every day about serious and deadly car crashes. Those reports identify collisions in Ohio and elsewhere in the country. Yet some collisions still stand out among others. According to a report from New York University (NYU), the following are the worst crashes from the 1990s into the 2000s:
- 2018 limousine accident in Schoharie, New York: This crash involved a limousine and many passengers. In the accident, the limousine driver ran a stop sign and crashed into a ravine. At the time of the accident, the limousine driver was traveling at a high speed. A total of 20 people in the limousine crash were killed, and the total number of fatalities made it the deadliest single-vehicle crash in the 2010s decade. None of the passengers in the vehicle had been wearing seat belts at the time of the accident.
- 2005 bus crash in Wilmer, Texas: This accident involved a bus explosion. The bus had been transporting hurricane evacuees from a nursing home. Due to the hurricane’s approach, the evacuees were being transported to Dallas. Outside of Dallas, the bus had flat tires, and an explosion occurred following the flat tires. A total of 25 passengers on the bus were killed.
- 2002 SUV accident in Portland, Maine: This crash involved a speeding SUV. According to the NYU article, an SUV driver had been traveling at speeds over 100 miles per hour. The vehicle had seven occupants at the time of the crash. It sped off the road and crashed into a tree. Seven vehicle occupants were killed, and that number included four child occupants.
- 1990 70-vehicle pileup in Nashville, Tennessee: This multi-vehicle accident occurred on I-75 due in part to heavy fog. While there were warning signs about the fog, many vehicles did not slow down to an appropriate speed, given the conditions. The total length of the overall crash was more than a mile. In the 70-car pileup, a total of 13 people were killed, and many more were injured. Not only did injuries result from the force of the collisions, but also from vehicle fires.
- 2000 multi-vehicle pileup in Richmond, Virginia: A snowstorm whiteout on I-95 resulted in a 117-car pileup. The accident had fewer fatalities than other serious multi-vehicle crashes. To be sure, only one person was killed, and only 31 people were injured. However, it was the worst multi-vehicle crash in the state of Virginia based on the number of vehicles involved alone.
- 2019 pickup truck accident in Randolph, New Hampshire: This multi-vehicle accident involved 10 motorcycles and a pickup truck on a local highway. A total of seven people were killed, and three more suffered catastrophic injuries.
In addition to these major crashes, the largest crash in Ohio’s history occurred in 2013. According to a report from the Hamilton County Department of Communications and PSC Online, the collision involved an 80-vehicle pileup on I-275. One person was killed, and there were “numerous fatalities,” according to the report. The multi-vehicle collision occurred on January 21, 2013, and inclement weather was a major causal factor. Due to the seriousness of the crash, “multiple vehicle extractions” had to be performed. In addition, emergency responders “triaged numerous injuries and transported critical victims to area hospitals.” This work was complicated by the “frigid conditions,” which made it difficult for emergency responders to work quickly and remove vehicles. In total, more than 50 tow trucks had to be used to clear the scene.
Contact a Hamilton Car Accident Lawyer
Were you injured recently in a car crash in Butler County? Or was someone you love injured or killed in a motor vehicle crash around Hamilton? You may be able to seek financial compensation by filing a claim. Most of us do not get into the driver’s seat of a car and anticipate a severe crash. Likewise, most people do not ride as a passenger in a car with the expectation of being involved in one of the worst collisions reported. Yet motor vehicle crashes happen quickly, and they can occur without any kind of warning. Whether you or a loved one got hurt, it is important to talk with a lawyer about your case.
At the law firm of Kruger & Hodges, we have years of experience representing clients in various types of motor vehicle crashes. We know how devastating these collisions can be, and we want to help you seek compensation. An experienced Hamilton car accident attorney at our firm can assess your case today. We can represent you throughout your auto insurance claim, negotiating with the insurer on your behalf. Then, if necessary, we are prepared to take your case to court. We can help you to identify the liable party or parties and to file a car accident lawsuit. Contact the law firm of Kruger & Hodges online or call our office today at 513-894-3333 for more information.