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New Automobile Accident Statistics for Sacramento

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Over the past five years, with the notable exception of 2020, the number of automobile accidents in Sacramento have been on the rise. The latest Sacramento auto accident statistics reveal that in 2021, there were 3,842 car crashes in the city compared to 2,931 in 2020. While that seems like a significant increase, it’s actually not as large as you would think considering the pandemic year saw a lot less traffic on the roads. Still, the 3,842 is an increase over even 2019 numbers (3,649). Let’s take a close look at these stats.


Behind the Increase

The city of Sacramento, like most other major cities in the U.S., implemented a Vision Zero plan in 2020 that has the goal of eliminating traffic fatalities and serious accidents by 2027. Unfortunately, in Sacramento, it doesn’t seem to be working yet. Of course, it’s only been in place for under two years, but between 2020 and 2021, there wasn’t any improvement in the number of traffic accidents.

Experts believe that the pandemic’s empty roads may be behind the unexpected increase in car crashes in 2021. When there were significantly fewer vehicles on the streets during quarantines and social distancing, those who were still driving discovered they could go much faster than they were when the roads were packed. 

When the traffic volumes returned to normal after the quarantines were lifted, these drivers were used to speeding and had difficulty navigating the increased number of vehicles on the road. This has resulted in more accidents than usual. Hopefully, 2022 will show that drivers have begun to temper their speed a bit now that they remember the risks involved.


Not All Bad News

Even though the number of traffic deaths is unacceptable at 58 in 2021, this number is not the highest point this statistic has been in the last five years. In 2017, there were 66 traffic deaths before the number started falling to 52 in 2018, 48 in 2019, and 40 in 2020. Again, we have to throw out the 2020 numbers because they aren’t measured against the same traffic volume, but the downward trend before 2020 was encouraging.

The reasons behind the increase in traffic deaths in 2021 are the same as those behind the car crash spike, so it will be interesting to see the 2022 numbers. If Vision Zero is positively impacting Sacramento’s hazardous roads, the number of traffic deaths should begin falling once again, resuming the pattern that was interrupted by the pandemic.


Alcohol a Major Problem

One significant issue that the city of Sacramento must address immediately is the increase in the number of alcohol-related accidents on the city’s roads. In 2021, there were 424 alcohol-related accidents compared to 302 in 2020 and 323 in 2019. In fact, 2021’s alcohol-related accidents outpaced any other year in the past five years by almost 100. 



Sacramento has a lot of work to do if it wants to meet its goal of zero traffic deaths and severe accidents by 2027. The pandemic threw a wrench into things, but that can’t be an excuse forever. Major changes need to happen now.

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