The U.S. Census reported that, in 2009, there were more than 10 million auto accidents reported in the U.S. Of those, more than 33,000 resulted in death. According to a report published by the CDC in 2013, auto accidents were the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S., with 130,557 fatalities reported as a result of an auto accident. Unfortunately, the number of fatalities has increased drastically. With these alarming numbers, it may be a good idea to consider the leading causes of auto accidents.
Negligence of Other Drivers
The sad truth is, the greatest threat on the road is other drivers. Their negligence accounts for more accidents and more deaths than anything else. The problem is, there are so many different ways that others can drive negligently, and all of those ways are extremely dangerous. Just a few common examples of driver negligence that leads to auto accidents include:
- Driving while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs
- Driving while drowsy or fatigued
- Distracted driving, including texting and eating
Although every state imposes speed limits, for the safety of everyone on the roadways, speeding is one of the most common moving citations received by drivers. In fact, one study shows that, on average, 41 million drivers receive speeding tickets each year. In 2013, there were 32,719 traffic fatalities and 29% were the result of speeding-related crashes.
Driving under the influence
Any driver whose blood alcohol concentration is .08 g/dL or higher, is considered to be alcohol-impaired. There were more than 10,000 fatalities in 2013, where an involved driver had a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher. That was 31% of all traffic fatalities that year. That was one alcohol impaired fatality every 52 minutes. In 2013, Arkansas reported 483 deaths and Missouri reported 757.
Distracted driving is becoming a major concern for highway safety. As the use of cell phones has increased, so has the number of auto accidents involving distracted drivers. In 2013, more than 3,000 people were killed as a result of distracted drivers. Although the campaign to stop texting and driving is in full swing, cell phone use is not the only form of distracted driving.
Any activity that diverts a driver’s attention from the primary task of driving is a distraction and endangers the driver, passengers and others on the roadway. Distractions also include everyday tasks that many of us engage in all the time, such as eating and drinking, talking to passengers, grooming, using a GPS and adjusting the radio or other electronics.
Dangerous Road Conditions
While driver error is a major cause of auto accidents, there are other factors that play a substantial role in causing auto accidents, as well. Roadway defects and engineering and design problems attribute to auto accidents as well. Furthermore, many hazardous road conditions can make, what would have been a minor crash, a much more serious event. Failure to properly maintain roadways is another common cause.
When vehicles have defective parts, were improperly designed, or were not maintained as necessary, the machine itself can be the cause of a treacherous auto accident. No doubt, you have heard about the major cases against auto manufactures for some of the following:
- Fuel system malfunctions
- Airbag malfunctions
- Seatbelt malfunctions
- Defective tires
- Acceleration problems
These manufacturers, as well as auto dealers, rental companies, and drivers all have a responsibility to ensure the safety of their vehicles, and must be held accountable when the reasonable standard of care has not been met.
If you have questions regarding auto accidents, or any other personal injury issues, call the Cottrell Law Office at (888) 433-4861.
He is licensed to practice law in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas, eastern Arkansas, western Arkansas, and western Missouri. He was Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Crawford County, Kansas from 1987-1989.
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