Motor vehicle collisions occur at an alarming rate on U.S. roads. Every year, more than 6 million people get into accidents that range from minor fender benders to more serious and fatal head-on collisions. Of those, 3 million suffer injury and 2 million will live with a permanent injury as a result of their accident.
Unfortunately, there are many reasons why serious and devastating accidents occur, from inexperienced and careless drivers to negligent government entities that fail to keep the roads safe. In some cases, multiple causes may contribute to the accident.
Many accident survivors find it beneficial to consult an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible. With the help of a car accident lawyer, you can uncover the exact cause of your collision and clearly establish liability. This will allow you to obtain the money you need to help you put your life back together again after an injury collision.
Top 5 Causes of Motor Vehicle Collisions
Human error is to blame for the vast majority of collisions on the road. From inexperienced truck drivers to drunk or distracted drivers, human error is the main cause of collisions. Here are some of the most common causes of collisions in the United States and how they may affect your case
#1 Distracted Driving
The Cause. Distracted driving increases every year. With the emergence of smartphones and onboard infotainment systems, drivers of all ages have difficulty keeping their eyes, hands, and minds on the task of driving. Distracted driving causes more than 1.6 million accidents and 391,000 injuries. In addition, distracted driving claims the lives of nearly 3,000 people every year. Sadly, safety experts believe that number is even higher because distracted driving is underreported during accidents.
Why is using a cellphone so risky? There are three main types of distractions: manual, cognitive, and visual. Using a cellphone incorporates all three levels of distraction. You use your hands to pick up the phone, you use your eyes to read the text message or GPS map, and you use your mind to interpret the data you see. For this reason, many states enacted laws to make using a handheld mobile device illegal while driving.
Yet, despite these laws, drivers continue to text and drive. A shocking 69 percent of U.S. drivers admitted to using their cell phones while driving during the last month. According to one survey, 15.6 percent of young drivers admitted to texting while driving. In addition, 60 percent of all drivers do not see talking on their phones as being more dangerous.
Your Distracted Driving Accident Case. If a distracted driver causes your accident and injuries, you have a right to seek compensation. Unfortunately, proving distracted driving is difficult. Most drivers do not admit to driving distracted. As such, your attorney may need to investigate your accident carefully to find solid evidence to prove liability. To do this, your attorney may need to obtain the other driver’s phone records or device data to make your case.
#2 Drunk Driving
The Cause. Drunk driving is one of the most common and deadly causes of motor vehicle collisions in the United States. Drunk drivers cost the United States more than $132 billion a year. In addition, they lead to serious injuries and fatalities. According to MADD, drunk drivers injure 800 people every single day. This means that every two minutes someone suffers an injury in a drunk driving accident.
Adults who drink and drive put themselves and everyone around them in danger. Every day more than 300,000 drunk drivers are on the road. Yet, only a fraction of them will suffer consequences for their actions and get arrested. In fact, studies show that the average drunk driver drove under the influence of alcohol over 80 times before their first arrest. Even though people drive drunk more than 300,000 times a day, police officers only arrest 2800 of them daily. Even when police officers do arrest drunk drivers, 75 percent of all convicted drunk drivers continue to drive on a suspended license.
Your Drunk Driving Accident Case. Drunk driving cases are complex because they involve both civil and criminal aspects. After the crash, the police will apprehend the drunk driver and charge them with DUI. This is the criminal aspect of the case. However, they will not help you collect compensation. Your car accident attorney will need to investigate your accident and gather the evidence needed to win your case. This often involves obtaining BAC results and sobriety test results. It may also involve investigating the establishment that served the drunk driver. In many cases, you can file a lawsuit against both the drunk driver and the bar or tavern that served them.
#3 Drugged Driving
The Cause. As more states legalize marijuana, the number of drugged drivers increases. Every year, 4,000 drivers with drugs in their system suffer fatal injuries in accidents. This does not include the thousands of other drivers who had drugs in their system but did not receive tests after an accident. Statistics show that drugs accounted for 18 percent of all motor vehicle driver deaths.
Shockingly, 10.1 million people reported driving under the influence of illicit drugs in the last year alone. In addition, more than 22 percent of all drivers involved in an accident tested positive for illegal or prescription drugs. However, only 1.1 million drivers get arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics every year.
While the use of illicit drugs is sometimes easier to identify, there are numerous prescription and over-the-counter medications that can impair driving. For this reason, many medications contain warning labels that advise against operating heavy machinery or driving. When drivers disregard these warnings, they can get into serious and deadly motor vehicle collisions.
Your Drugged Driving Accident Case. Similar to drunk driving cases, drugged driving cases may involve both civil and criminal aspects. If the driver is under the influence of illicit drugs at the time of the crash, the police may order a toxicology report to confirm this suspicion. However, if the driver is just under the influence of a prescription or over-the-counter medication this is more difficult to prove. Your lawyer can investigate the accident closely to determine the best way to proceed and prove liability.
The Cause. Speeding is a major factor in many of the serious and fatal motor vehicle accidents in the United States. Drivers who drive over the recommended speed limit are less likely to stop or react appropriately in emergencies, especially when traffic patterns change. They may also fail to recognize other motorists, bikers, motorcyclists, or pedestrians on the road.
Reports from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicate that speeding is a cause of approximately one-third of all traffic fatalities. Approximately 25 people a day lose their lives in speeding accidents. In addition to fatalities, speeding increases the severity of injuries suffered by all occupants. When a crash happens at a high rate of speed, accident survivors are more likely to suffer life-changing and disabling injuries.
In all types of weather, speeding increases the risk of collisions. In fact, speeding was a factor in:
- 16 percent of all fatal accidents on dry roads
- 19 percent of all fatal accidents on wet roads
- 37 percent of all fatal accidents on snowy roads
- 31 percent of all fatal accidents on icy roads
Why do so many drivers speed? Most drivers speed because they are running late for work, a meeting, an outing, or school. Other drivers speed out of road rage or frustration or because of inexperience. Many teenagers routinely speed because they do not realize the dangers of speeding.
In many cases, alcohol and speeding combine to create a deadly situation. Speeding is a factor in 40 percent of all drunk driving crashes. Speeding drivers are also more likely to drive distracted or reckless.
Your Speeding Accident Case. If a speeding driver hit you and caused your accident, you have a right to file a claim to collect compensation for your injuries and damages. After an injury accident, the police will typically arrive on the scene and fill out a police report. This report is critical when establishing blame and can help your attorney prove fault. Speeding drivers are negligent drivers. Yet, the insurance companies will still try to pin some of the accident on you. They may claim that you drove over the speed limit as well or that you acted negligently. Your car accident attorney will need to gather the evidence needed to negotiate the best settlement for you.
#5 Reckless Driving
The Cause. When drivers act recklessly behind the wheel of a vehicle, they can cause catastrophic collisions. To drive on roads in your state, you must obey all traffic signals, speed limits, and road signs. This takes a considerable amount of focus and awareness. It also takes patience. When drivers lose patience and begin to drive recklessly, they put themselves and everyone around them in danger.
Reckless driving is often defined as driving a vehicle in a manner that disregards other people or property.
Some of the most common types of reckless driving behaviors include:
- Tailgating or following too closely
- Failing to stop at red lights or stop signs
- Unsafely changing lanes
- Not using turn signals
- Road rage
- Failing to yield the right-of-way
When another driver follows too closely or weaves in and out of traffic, they may not give themselves time to adequately stop or avoid collisions. Running stoplights or stop signs can cause horrific side-impact accidents and can also severely injure motorcyclists or other drivers who have the right-of-way.
Road rage is a specific type of reckless driving. When drivers get angry while they drive, they may make irrational and heated decisions. They can yell obscenities at other drivers, tailgate, or even aggressively pass other vehicles. In fact, aggressive driving causes an estimated 66 percent of traffic fatalities.
Your Reckless Driving Accident Case. Reckless drivers can—and should—accept responsibility for their actions and the harm they caused. When seeking compensation, your attorney must gather solid evidence to show that the other driver acted recklessly and caused your accident. To do this, your car accident attorney may need to review the police report and speak to eyewitnesses to prove liability.
What Can You Do After a Collision?
When you get into a motor vehicle collision, you may not know what to do next. You may feel overwhelmed in the aftermath of an accident. You may find yourself hospitalized with serious injuries while facing a mountain of medical debt that increases daily. Your car is likely damaged as well, adding to the stress and financial concerns. Even worse, your injuries will likely prevent you from going back to work for a time. This can further compound the financial stresses you suffer and keep you up at night.
With all that is going on, how will you get money to pay your rent? How will you get to and from therapy sessions without a car? Who is responsible for your accident and who will pay these expenses?
After your collision, contact an experienced and skilled car accident attorney. An experienced injury attorney can answer those important questions and give you legal guidance along the way. When insurance companies try to play hardball or refuse to offer you a fair settlement, your attorney can fight aggressively for your rights. With an attorney on your side after a collision, you can obtain the money you deserve.