Countless car accidents happen across the United States every year. These crashes, which range from minor fender-benders to severe collisions, often lead to serious injuries and, in the worst cases, death. Although many safety features are now standard on most cars, and technology continues to enhance protection, driver error remains a leading cause of crashes.
Driver error is a broad term covering various behaviors. However, officials generally use it to describe preventable accidents had drivers been more attentive and cautious. To increase awareness of how driver error causes collisions, it is important to look at the most common types of these behaviors.
How Prevalent Are Accidents Due to Driver Error?
Several national safety agencies and data scientists research the effects of driver error crashes, especially fatal collisions. Many of these studies show how prevalent driver error is and detail the devastating results that occur when these behaviors lead to a crash. Consider the following statistics:
- According to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) study, driver error led to 94% of the crashes examined.
- According to the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), human error causes 98% of crashes.
- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), road traffic crashes are a leading cause of death for people ages 1-54 in the United States.
- According to another NHTSA report, a recent and significant increase in vehicle fatalities was mainly due to risky behaviors, such as speeding and impaired driving.
With injury-causing and fatal accidents continuing to be a pervasive problem for U.S. drivers, understanding how driver error causes crashes can help all drivers create safer environments on the road.
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Distracted Driving Is a Widespread Issue
Anytime you divert your attention from the road to do another activity, you engage in distracted driving. The CDC estimates that about eight people die in the U.S. daily in crashes that reportedly involve a distracted driver. According to the NHTSA on distracted driving, taking your eyes off the road for 5 seconds while driving at 55 miles per hour equates to driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed.
The CDC classifies distracted driving into three distinct categories:
- Visual: when you take your eyes off the road
- Manual: when you take your hands off the wheel
- Cognitive: when you take your mind off the task of driving
Distracted driving encompasses a range of different behaviors.
Smartphone and Other Device Use Is a Leading Cause of Accidents
Driving while using smartphones, cell phones, and other electronic devices is widespread among drivers of all ages throughout the country. For example, according to a study on electronic device use by NHTSA in 2020, an estimated 7.9% of U.S. drivers used some type of mobile phone during a typical day.
Although many states now have laws prohibiting cell phone use while driving, in 2019, the NHTSA estimated that 13% of fatal distracted driving crashes involved a cell phone. When drivers use a mobile device, they reduce their response time to unexpected situations that happen on the road. For example, slowing traffic, sharp bends, and pedestrians are unpredictable events that drivers using a cell phone may not have enough time to react to, potentially leading to a severe crash.
Eating While Driving Can Be Dangerous
Although many drivers do not consider eating while driving an inherently dangerous behavior, it can lead to severe accidents. Especially with hot, messy, or liquid-based foods, drivers put others at risk of injury when they eat behind the wheel. Focusing your attention on anything other than the road, including a meal, can reduce your ability to react.
Drowsy Driving and Fatigue Behind the Wheel
Driver fatigue causes a significant percentage of car crashes. According to NHTSA data, in 2017, more than 91,000 police-reported crashes involved drowsy drivers. These accidents harmed 500,000 people and killed nearly 800 people.
When a driver operates a vehicle without enough rest, their reaction time increases as their awareness decreases. As a result, it becomes harder for drivers to avoid road hazards.
Speeding or Impatient Driving Causes Driver Error Crashes
When someone drives too fast for conditions or over the posted speed limit, they are at increased risk of causing severe and often deadly collisions. The NHTSA reported that in 2019, speeding was a contributing factor in 26% of all fatal crashes.
Speeding can lead drivers to lose control of their vehicles, reduce their ability to stop in time, and lower the effectiveness of vehicle safety features. Additionally, crashes that occur due to speeding often have much more severe injuries due to the sheer force of impact.
Contact Morris Bart, LLC, Today If You Have Been in a Car Accident
When driver error causes a collision, you may be eligible to seek compensation for your losses. If you are hurt in a crash with a distracted driver, the accident attorneys at the Morris Bart law firm will help you understand your options for pursuing compensation for your injuries.
Call us at (800) 537-8185 to speak to a lawyer for more information on how we may be able to help with your case.
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