Auto accidents may not always be preventable, but by knowing the top causes of auto wrecks, readers can address any issues that apply to them by adopting safer driving practices and making a commitment to avoid any hazards or bad habits.
In the United States, about 10 million people are involved in an auto accident annually. Each of the top causes is discussed more thoroughly below, along with some important statistics on how many people may be affected.
Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is one of the leading causes of auto accidents in America. While it’s not the leading cause, it’s certainly the most serious cause of auto accidents and auto accident deaths.
Most people think of a group of young teen drivers getting into a car after a party and losing control somewhere along the way home. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) estimates that roughly 300,000 people get behind the wheel while intoxicated daily. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports 111 million incidents of drunk driving in 2015 and over 10,250 deaths related to drunk driving.
Drunk driving is common among inexperienced young drivers, who fail to realize the extent of their impairment. While episodes of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is decreasing slightly, it’s still a significant problem. Driving under the influence occurs most often in young adults aged twenty-one to twenty-five, according to NHTSA. But, incidents of DUI range across all age groups and occasionally occur among older adults, as well.
In most states, bars and places that serve alcohol can be partially liable for customers who are intoxicated and cause accidents. Employers can also be responsible if employees driving company vehicles get behind the wheel while under the influence. This means that a car accident lawyer can help someone hit by a drunk driver recover financial compensation.
Speeding is another leading cause of auto accidents. Speeding is easy in our society because we live rushed and hurried lifestyles, expecting everything to be done immediately. We use drive-thru restaurants, dry cleaners, pharmacies, and convenience stores in an effort to save time. Living this kind of lifestyle contributes to speeding, because we become less patient to arrive at our destinations and take measures such as driving faster in order to arrive sooner.
Speeding is common in all age groups and accounts for about one-third of all accidents occurring in the United States annually. In most cases, arriving a few minutes later will have no negative consequences and the end definitely does not justify the means. It’s far better to arrive later than to potentially put someone’s life in jeopardy by speeding.
While enforcement of speed limits and posted signs is effective in preventing speeding accidents, additional education and prevention efforts, as well as speeding reminder mechanisms inside the vehicle, are additional approaches that can be effective in reducing vehicle accidents.
The NHTSA reports in a 2011 survey that those in the sixteen to twenty age group were involved in an accident related to speeding more often in the past five years than drivers in other age groups. This is significant because not all drivers in this age range have been behind licensed for five years.
3. Distracted Driving
Distracted driving is the leading cause of auto accidents in the United States. The term “distracted” is often used to explain incidents of driving where the driver was not paying as much attention to the road and conditions as he or she should have been. Texting, tweeting, chatting, or otherwise engaging with others using an electronic device is a commonly known cause of distracted driving, and those who text are twenty-three times more likely to be involved in an accident.
However, distracted driving can occur any time the driver doesn’t have his or her full attention on the road. Simply talking on a phone, even with a hands-free headset or device, can be distracting to some people.
Driving with restless children in the backseat or arguing with another adult while behind the wheel can also be considered driving while distracted. Other tasks like eating or reading can contribute to distracted driving because they cause the driver to take his or her attention off the road, even if only for a few seconds.