Car accidents as a method of suicide: a comprehensive overview

Forensic Sci Int. 2012 Nov 30;223(1-3):1-9. doi: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2012.04.012. Epub 2012 May 9.


The research literature provides evidence on the possible link between single-car accident drivers and suicidal intent, and some scholars have stressed the role of unconscious suicidal motivations in some single-car accidents. This paper review relevant literature on the topic and sheds light on neglected factors that may play a central role in reducing the number of deaths due to car accidents. We performed careful PubMed, and PsycInfo searches to identify all papers and book chapters in English during the period 1955-2011. Our overview of the literature indicates that above 2% of the traffic accidents are suicide behaviors. However, the phenomenon may be underreported, considering that suicides by car accidents may be reported as accidental in the national statistics. On the other hand, the association between accident-pronesses and unconscious self-destructive impulses is an issue that is difficult to solve.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Accident Proneness
  • Accidents, Traffic*
  • Forensic Psychiatry
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Personality
  • Risk-Taking
  • Suicidal Ideation
  • Suicide*