The dawn of the 21st century introduced ever-improving technology even 21 years later. This is especially so when it comes to vehicle safety. To ensure such safety millions of vehicles are recalled annually. Unfortunately, despite technological advancements and vehicle recalls the United States averages about 6 million car accidents every year. One may wonder with all the improvements in technology and vehicle safety emphasized in vehicle manufacturing, what are the common causes of vehicle accidents. This article will discuss some of the leading common causes of vehicle accidents.
If you are involved in a car accident in Bakersfield CA contact a law firm with great personal injury attorneys. It must be noted that there are generally two general categories that cover the most common causes of car accidents. The first category is one relating to driver error, while the second category takes into account external causes that are no one person’s direct fault; for example, brake failure or mountain lions or deer crossing the road. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) research shows that driver error is by far the leading cause of vehicle accidents in the United States.
The most common forms of driver error include the following:
- Distracted driving – the term basically means anything and everything that takes the driver’s focus, eyes and mind from the road and/or hands off the steering wheel. This can be something as simple as talking to a passenger or reading billboards on the side of the road, or trying to eat that burger while driving. However, the most common driver distraction is the use of a cell phone or other electronic devices. A study conducted by the National Safety Council [mental-distraction-myth-busters.pdf.aspx (nsc.org)] stated that driver distraction is so common because of the “myth of multitasking” while driving. The study shows that the human brain is incapable of performing two important tasks at the same time and instead ‘micro tasks’; meaning it handles only one task at a time between completing tasks. As a result, none of the tasks are being done effectively. Therefore, there is a high chance of causing a hazard when driving and doing any other task.
- DUI – the NHTSA statistics show that more than 40% of all vehicle fatalities are as a result of alcohol. Driving under the influence results in slow reaction times, poor vision and decision-making.
- Fatigue – one of the most dangerous causes of accidents is driver fatigue. In fact, it poses the same dangers as driving under the influence. When a person is fatigued, they are more likely to fall asleep while driving; however, it does affect a driver’s reaction times when responding to road hazards.
- Decision making – when driving a driver is faced with many decisions, such as whether to speed up, overtake a vehicle, tailgate or slow down. When such decisions are made in unsafe conditions or bad decisions are made this could result in a collision. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) almost one in three car accident deaths in the United States involves speeding.
- Weather conditions – bad weather conditions that affect road surfaces and visibility also play a role in car accidents. A vehicle may be traveling at the posted speed limit in bad weather conditions and still cause an accident.