What Makes Napa County Rank so High in Many California Vehicle Accident Categories?

Woman sad after car accident

According to studies by the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), Napa County motorists and pedestrians have nearly double the chance of suffering severe injuries in a traffic accident than those living in other sections of the Bay Area.

In 2013, the most recent year with complete data, Napa Valley ranked in the top 15 of the 58 California counties for the following categories:

  • 2/58 for the total number of accident deaths and injuries

  • 7/58 for the total number of alcohol-involved accident deaths and injuries

  • 3/58 for the total number of pedestrian accident deaths and injuries

  • 2/58 for the total number of pedestrian accident deaths and injuries over the age of 65

  • 9/58 for the total number of bicyclist accident deaths and injuries

  • 1/58 for the total number of bicyclist deaths and injuries under the age of 15

  • 13/58 for the total number of speed-related accident deaths and injuries

  • 10/58 for the total number of nighttime (9:00 pm - 2:59 am) accident deaths and injuries

  • 8/58 for the total number of hit and run accident deaths and injuries

Why Are These Numbers so High?

While many factors contribute to these numbers being so high, there are a few that stand out above the rest.


Napa Police Sergeant Kristofer Jenny believes that these numbers are due to Napa being “a very popular tourist destination; we have a high number of drivers that are unfamiliar with the area.”


Distracted driving is a rampant epidemic in Napa County, and it’s only getting worse. With Napa County being a tourist hot spot, you have many drivers who don’t know their way around town. They have to rely on their phone’s GPS to get from point A to point B. Additionally, because tourists likely don’t know the land, they may miss turns or exits—resulting in them having to change their GPS behind the wheel manually.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are three types of distractions behind the wheel: cognitive, manual, and visual. Adjusting your GPS while driving exercises all three of these distractions, making it extremely dangerous for everyone on the road.

Driving Under the Influence

When you think of Napa County, alcohol, and driving under the influence, you likely think of one thing— wineries. However, a study by the DUI Prevention Coalition in 2014 concluded that beer-related DUIs were three times more common in Napa County than wine-related DUIs.

Napa County Police Sergeant Brian Campagna stated, “The majority of DUIs we process are locals, and a lot of it is beer consumption.”

What Can Be Done?

As you may have noticed, all of the things that potentially cause these accident numbers are so high are entirely preventable. The unfortunate truth about why Napa County ranks so highly in so many different accident categories is the fact that many of the drivers on our roads act negligently behind the wheel.

If you or a loved one suffers and injury in an accident involving a negligent driver, our team of trusted Napa County auto accident attorneys here at The Law Offices of J. Chrisp can help you recover. Give us a call today at (707) 549-8166 to learn more over a free consultation.

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