Bob Simon released after the end of the first Gulf War, one of many conflicts he covered throughout his career
In a career spanning five decades, the 73-year-old covered many war zones from Vietnam to the former Yugoslavia.
At the end of his stint in Saigon in the 1970s he was on one of the last helicopters out of the city, CBS said.
Simon won multiple awards, including 27 Emmys, for his reporting and regularly appeared on the network?s flagship programme ?60 Minutes?.
His last piece, a report about the Oscar-nominated civil rights drama ?Selma? went out on ?60 Minutes? at the weekend.
?It is a tragedy made worse because we lost him in a car accident, a man who escaped more difficult situations than almost any journalist in modern times?, CBS News Chairman and ?60 Minutes? executive producer Jeff Fager said.
Simon was a passenger in a hired sedan that hit another car stopped at a traffic light and then slammed into metal barriers separating traffic lanes, police said Wednesday.
CNN?s Anderson Cooper, who worked with Simon on ?60 Minutes? said: ?Bob was for the last five decades simply one of the best, in my opinion, at getting a story, telling a story, writing a story and making it simply unforgettable.?
His death comes during an eventful week in US broadcasting, with ?Daily Show? host John Stewart announcing that he will quit and the suspension of NBC news anchor Brian Williams for embellishing an Iraq war story.