Factors That Influence Car Accidents in Nebraska

Posted in Accident Information on February 19, 2016

Car Accidents are one of the leading cause of death in the United States, claiming 32,675 lives in 2014 alone. While it’s no secret that driving comes with a fair share of risk, a number of factors contribute to dangerous conditions on the road. Diving into some statistics, we found a relationship between both gas prices and weather conditions on the number of traffic related deaths in Nebraska.

Gas Prices: The Inverse Relationship

A study done by NPR last year analyzed the relationship between gas prices and traffic fatalities in 144 countries and found that higher gas prices are associated with fewer deaths and lower gas prices are associated with more traffic deaths. Another study done at South Dakota State University substantiated this claim, estimating that a $2 drop in gas prices across the country could translate to about 9,000 fatalities in the United States. This seems drastic at first, but the relationship makes sense. The Washington State Department of Transportation found in its 2015 Corridor Capacity Report that, “falling gas prices have a tendency to worsen traffic congestion; when gas prices decline, driving becomes less expensive and people often drive alone (or drive more) rather than using alternate commute modes such as transit or carpools.” Furthermore, low gas prices mean that drivers are less concerned with gas saving techniques, such as maintaining slower, constant speeds and gradual acceleration, which also happen to be safer driving habits. More people on the road with less regard for their driving habits certainly seems like it could translate to more fatal crashes. Combining data from the Nebraska Department of Transportation and Nebraska Energy Office, we found the relationship to be true.

Gas Prices Vs. Traffic Fatalities: Nebraska 2000-2015

Weather: The Most Dangerous Months to Drive in Nebraska

Common sense leads many to believe that the most dangerous times to drive occur under adverse weather conditions. Reduced visibility, slick roads, and less control are all negative byproducts of rain, snow, and ice. According to the Nebraska Office of Highway Safety, the first snow storm of the year generates twice as many crashes as those occurring on a typical day. While this is true that more accidents may occur during harsh weather conditions, according to the statistics on traffic related fatalities, the most dangerous time to drive is actually on a hot, sunny day in August.

Using data also provided by the Nebraska Office of Highway Safety and WeatherDB, since 1960, we found that the most dangerous months to drive in Nebraska begin in July and end in October. For example, a Nebraskan is almost twice as likely to die in a traffic collision in August as opposed to a much colder month like February. While this seems counter intuitive at first, warm weather creates a number of unfavorable conditions for drivers:

  • More people are outside enjoying the weather
  • Children are out of school and more teen drivers are on the road
  • Vacation and travel spike during summer months
  • More hours of light keep people on the road later

Don’t believe us? Check out the data below:

Traffic Deaths By Month

Year Population Jan Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec Total
1960 1,411,000 17 15 12 18 31 19 24 35 31 33 33 24 292
1961 1,446,000 15 21 27 33 26 25 30 35 28 36 21 25 322
1962 1,464,000 18 16 23 29 27 42 33 46 41 46 46 34 401
1963 1,476,000 23 23 19 25 26 29 30 36 40 41 23 34 349
1964 1,482,000 21 31 34 24 29 33 37 57 46 52 34 52 450
1965 1,471,000 23 35 13 20 24 36 39 57 36 40 26 37 386
1966 1,456,000 32 20 34 33 41 33 44 44 34 39 30 41 425
1967 1,457,000 28 25 42 24 37 29 53 45 27 50 38 47 445
1968 1,467,000 36 37 20 30 39 48 40 42 47 39 45 29 452
1969 1,474,000 33 25 26 20 29 38 36 31 43 47 57 37 422
1970 1,485,333 28 14 25 42 33 42 48 41 40 36 34 29 412
1971 1,504,604 21 16 26 43 33 50 44 61 39 53 47 56 489
1972 1,519,013 26 30 26 39 32 41 50 59 56 50 31 45 485
1973 1,529,567 33 18 34 37 30 39 37 42 40 59 36 28 433
1974 1,539,191 19 18 26 32 37 33 55 40 29 43 28 28 388
1975 1,543,117 19 15 32 30 23 29 48 37 46 43 24 30 376
1976 1,550,911 31 20 11 24 35 32 41 68 36 32 26 46 402
1977 1,556,842 22 22 31 30 37 32 37 31 28 21 29 30 350
1978 1,563,884 21 18 23 22 29 39 38 28 37 43 34 18 350
1979 1,567,344 23 27 14 30 34 26 33 31 24 31 26 31 330
1980 1,569,825 25 16 29 23 36 32 48 44 43 29 31 40 396
1981 1,578,515 29 28 25 30 44 44 42 34 21 31 21 29 378
1982 1,581,780 18 16 16 17 26 14 30 36 19 30 21 18 261
1983 1,584,293 21 15 15 15 17 26 35 35 23 28 14 11 255
1984 1,588,639 21 17 19 17 14 27 29 41 32 25 22 21 285
1985 1,584,664 19 8 23 18 19 23 22 24 23 25 22 11 237
1986 1,574,333 17 24 22 22 26 26 27 37 17 20 25 27 290
1987 1,566,547 24 23 19 17 23 20 32 31 28 31 29 20 297
1988 1,571,477 17 14 17 20 22 31 25 29 32 18 24 12 261
1989 1,574,864 23 18 27 17 13 23 43 32 23 23 20 34 296
1990 1,578,385 16 7 19 14 23 28 29 34 25 25 16 26 262
1991 1,590,805 13 13 18 22 24 27 38 36 23 25 16 20 275
1992 1,602,406 26 21 15 18 25 19 31 24 27 29 22 13 270
1993 1,612,149 18 15 20 14 16 17 16 36 27 23 23 29 254
1994 1,621,551 27 20 14 24 27 27 24 23 18 26 20 21 271
1995 1,635,142 12 18 21 15 12 23 33 32 19 25 27 17 254
1996 1,647,657 20 11 28 21 25 33 26 24 24 31 30 20 293
1997 1,656,042 22 13 20 17 28 17 23 33 32 31 35 31 302
1998 1,660,772 21 23 22 23 24 26 19 32 32 31 35 27 315
1999 1,666,028 14 26 24 27 19 23 25 24 29 30 23 31 295
2000 1,713,345 35 19 17 13 33 16 22 32 21 28 21 19 276
2001 1,717,948 8 14 21 17 20 19 23 24 32 16 35 17 246
2002 1,725,083 34 16 28 30 29 17 24 31 20 31 17 30 307
2003 1,733,680 23 15 16 27 25 31 32 25 21 36 27 15 293
2004 1742184 17 22 13 18 30 22 21 25 20 27 15 24 254
2005 1751721 15 25 22 16 16 26 25 24 21 34 33 19 276
2006 1760435 15 18 27 27 18 21 24 21 21 28 24 25 269
2007 1769912 21 16 20 22 22 30 20 25 20 20 19 21 256
2008 1781949 18 22 21 9 16 14 13 19 17 22 14 23 208
2009 1796619 14 12 17 15 20 11 25 28 24 17 21 19 223
2010 1829696 8 19 11 12 9 26 29 10 12 21 17 16 190
2011 1842234 7 12 12 10 17 23 14 20 20 15 17 14 181
2012 1855525 22 11 15 11 8 25 19 26 29 17 13 16 212
2013 1868516 25 16 7 14 15 22 27 18 23 11 13 20 211
2014 1881503 14 15 19 19 16 24 22 18 27 19 21 11 225
2015 1896190 22 12 28 18 19 13 23 18 21 21 26 21 242
Total 1190 1056 1205 1254 1408 1541 1757 1871 1614 1733 1477 1469 17575
Average 21.25 18.86 21.52 22.39 25.14 27.52 31.38 33.41 28.82 30.95 26.38 26.23 313.84
Average per 100k 1.33 1.18 1.35 1.41 1.59 1.73 1.98 2.11 1.82 1.96 1.66 1.66 19.78