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Common Causes of Car Crashes

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Posted on April 1, 2014

Automobile accidents happen every day. Fortunately, most car accidents are relatively minor and do not cause injury to the occupants. However, other car accidents can be more severe and sometimes result in catastrophic injury or even death. Both fatal and non-fatal traffic accidents are commonly caused by some form of driver error, such as driver distraction. Although rare, automobile crashes can also be the result of inclement weather or defective road conditions.

Traffic accidents sometimes involve a single vehicle, particularly in cases of collisions with fixed objects and vehicle rollovers. Other crashes involve collisions between two or more motor vehicles. Studies have proven that driver distraction, inclusive of cell phone use and texting, is the leading cause of all car crashes. As of July 2013, Florida drivers are prohibited from texting while a vehicle is in motion.

Driver Distraction – The #1 Cause of Automobile Accidents

“Distracted driving is any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving. All distractions endanger driver, passenger, and bystander safety,” according More specifically, the following are a few more causes of driver distraction:

  • Reading or composing text messages
  • Talking on a cell phone
  • Reading, including paper maps
  • Typing or making selections with a navigation system (GPS)
  • Checking emails or browsing the internet
  • Adjusting a radio, CD player, or MP3 player
  • Eating and drinking
  • Conversations with passengers
  • Personal grooming / applying makeup
  • Exterior visual distraction

Other Common Causes of Auto Accidents

Driver distraction accounts for considerable majority of the primary causes of fatal and non-fatal traffic accidents. Aside from the many forms of driver distraction, the following include a few other major causes of car crashes.

Drunk Driving: Another major cause of fatal car crashes is driving under the influence (DUI). Alcohol impaired drivers are linked to some of the most severe automobile crashes that occur on US roads.

  • In 2011, 226 children were killed in DUI-related crashes. Of those, 122were riding as passengers with the drunk driver /
  • Almost every 90 seconds, somebody is injured in an alcohol-related car crash.
  • Every day in the US, an average of 28 people die as a result of drunk driving accidents.
  • The rate of drunk driving is highest among 21-25 year olds (23.4 percent).
  • Adults drink too much and drive about 112 million times per year – nearly 300,000 incidences of drinking and driving each day.

Defective Roads: Roadway defects refer more specific to problems associated with a road and the surrounding conditions. Dangerous conditions may contribute to a serious accident involving one or more vehicles. Despite a cautious driver’s best efforts, poorly maintained roads or construction zones not properly set up can cause serious automobile crashes and catastrophic accident-related injuries. Defective roadways are often associated with:

  • Uneven or broken pavement
  • Potholes
  • Excessive oil or gravel on the roadway
  • Road debris, tree limbs, garbage, or other obstructions
  • Inadequate or defective street lights
  • Inadequate or missing signage
  • Broken or missing guardrails
  • Malfunctioning traffic signals
  • Overgrown vegetation
  • Poor drainage

Road defects linked to construction zone hazards may also include any of these items in addition to a few inches of gradient, construction trucks/equipment, debris in traffic lanes, confusing signs, or narrow roadways.



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