Each year, there are thousands of car accidents all across the country, many of which prove to be fatal. Safety groups and research organizations have been looking for the answer to prevent car accidents for as long as they have been occurring but the exact causes have remained largely unknown. The United States Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has released some information that has finally shed some light on the root of car accidents.
Using data collected between 2005 and 2007, the study was able to analyze the facts behind more than 2 million car accidents. According to the statistics, approximately 94% of all car accidents were definitively caused by driver error, negligence, or recklessness. Another 2% were caused by “unknown critical reasons” which could, if further research had been conducted, ultimately be linked back to the driver.
Breaking down the information even further, the NHTSA wanted to know what was causing those driver errors, and whether or not it could be prevented in the future. They concluded that roughly 41% of all driver-caused crashed were caused by recognition error.
The study defined recognition error as:
- Self-caused inattention (i.e. cellphone use)
- External distractions (talkative passengers)
- Not paying attention to surrounding lanes
Another 33% were caused by decision errors, which were defined as:
- Aggressive driving
- Illegal driving behaviors (reckless driving)
- Inability to judge the speed of other vehicles
Drivers that showed signs of a general lack of driving ability caused another 11% of car accidents. Non-performance errors, such as falling asleep at the wheel, were found to be the source of 7% of collisions.
We Have the Data, What Do We Do With It?
The NHTSA’s study has revealed something most unfortunate about the nature of car accidents: negligence is the most common leading factor and arguably the most difficult behavior to control. Had vehicle defects caused the majority of accidents – they were actually attributed to about 2% of them – manufacturers could have stepped up their game and made cars safer to use. Had environment and roadway conditions been the most notable problem – again, only a 2% spot on the chart – the government could have made efforts to improve roads.
But if the leading cause of car accidents is the people controlling the car, every effort to stop their dangerous behavior is an uphill battle. All the regulations and training in the world cannot guarantee that someone will put down their cellphones and focus on driving. And since recent studies suggest 25% or more of all car accidents involve cellphone use, that point seems to have already been made. If self-driving cars become the norm, and the requirement, there may be a significant drop in car accident occurrences, but that is a notion far on the horizon.
In the meantime, while technology and safe practices advance, if you get into a motor vehicle accident that was not your fault, you can contact our Corpus Christi car accident lawyers from Brunkenhoefer, P.C. Injury Attorneys. We can form a claim and case on your behalf, doing all we can to get you the compensation you deserve. Get a free consultation now to get started.