Injuries from Crashes

How many people are injured on Bay Area roads?

Injuries from Crashes

Injuries from crashes refers to serious but not fatal injuries sustained in a collision. The California Highway Patrol classifies a serious injury as any combination of the following: broken bones; dislocated or distorted limbs; severe lacerations; skull, spinal, chest or abdominal injuries that go beyond visible injuries; unconsciousness at or when taken from the scene; or severe burns. Injuries are measured as an aggregate number (total injuries) and as a rate (injuries per 100,000 residents and injuries per 100 million vehicle miles traveled).

When millions of people drive billions of miles each year, the unfortunate reality is that crashes resulting in death or serious injury are likely to occur. Fatalities understandably tend to receive the most attention, but serious injuries from crashes affect five times as many people each year. Several factors influence the number of injuries from crashes, including driver education and behavior, vehicle safety features, roadway conditions, and the number of miles driven.

Regional Performance
In contrast to the significant decline in fatalities from crashes, serious injuries have declined at a much slower rate over the last decade.

In the Bay Area, the annual number of serious injuries from crashes has declined from approximately 2,000 in 2001 to approximately 1,700 in 2012. But given the rapid reduction in traffic fatalities, it is clear that serious injuries have not declined at the same rate. In 2012, nearly five people were seriously injured in a crash every single day in the Bay Area – an indication that more work remains to be done to make sure motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists can all get to their destinations safely.

Local Focus
The rate of injuries resulting from collisions varies greatly by county.

While San Francisco has the highest injury rate per mile traveled – a reflection of the city’s below-average driving distances – Napa County has the highest injury rate per resident. Napa residents are nearly twice as likely to be seriously injured in a traffic crash as is the average Bay Area resident. San Mateo County has the safest roads in the region, with injury rates well below the regional average.

Injuries from Crashes 2000-2012

Change year:

Zoom in to see more details, including individual injury reports. Select a report on the map for more information.


California Highway Patrol: Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (2000-2012) – via SafeTREC Transportation Injury Mapping System

California Department of Transportation: California Public Road Data/Highway Performance Monitoring System (2001-2012)

California Department of Finance: Population and Housing Estimates

Form E-8 - Historical Population and Housing Estimates (2001-2010)

Form E-5 - Population and Housing Estimates (2011-2013)

Image: Flickr (Creative Commons license), Photographer: Chris Humphrey,

Methodology Notes: 

The data is reported by the California Highway Patrol (CHP) to the Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), which was accessed via SafeTREC’s Transportation Injury Mapping System (TIMS). The data was tabulated using provided categories specifying injury level, individuals involved, causes of collision, and location/jurisdiction of collision (for more: Fatalities were normalized over historic population data from the US Census and American Community Surveys and vehicle miles traveled (VMT) data from the Federal Highway Administration. For more regarding reporting procedures and injury classification, refer to the California Highway Patrol Manual (