Car accidents can be caused by a plethora of situations, from inattentive pedestrians to faulty tires, from a bicyclist’s improper passing to icy road conditions. Most accidents, however, are attributed to driver errors of some sort.
Below we discuss the three top causes of car accidents, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Survey.
#1 Top Cause of Car Accidents: Driver Recognition Error
Examining the top causes of car accidents, 41 percent of driver-attributed accidents are caused by a driver recognition error. The NHTSA lists four common recognition errors drivers make that cause accidents.
- Inadequate surveillance – Drivers who fail to look before the maneuver, or who look but do not see, is the most common causes of car accidents, attributing to 20 percent of the driver-related accidents.
- Internal distractions – Internal distractions, such as cell phone usage, fumbling for something in the car, or talking with passengers, was second on the list, attributing to just over 10 percent of the driver-related accidents.
- External distractions – External distractions, such as people watching or being absorbed by sign reading, attributed to almost four percent of the driver-related accidents.
- General inattention – Being distracted without any specific origin, e.g., daydreaming, was cited at the contributing cause of 3.2 percent of driver-related accidents.
#2 Top Cause of Car Accidents: Driver Decision Error
In determining the leading causes of car accidents, the primary cause can be traced to some type of decision error on the driver’s part. Below are the seven most common decision errors that drivers make and the respective percentage of crashes in which they were factors.
- Driving too fast for conditions (8.4 percent)
- Driving too fast around a curve (4.9 percent)
- Having a false assumption about another’s actions (4.5 percent)
- Performing an illegal maneuver (3.8 percent)
- Misjudging a space gap or of another’s speed (3.2 percent)
#3 Top Cause of Car Accidents: Performance Error
Performance errors were third on the NHTSA list of critical crash reasons attributed to drivers. Performance errors are cited as the primary cause of driver-related crashes about 10 percent of the time.
The four common performance errors drivers make are listed below.
- Overconsumption of alcohol (4.9 percent)
- Poor directional control (4.7 percent)
- Unknown performance error (0.4 percent)
- Panic (0.3 percent)
Making Use of Accident Statistics
It’s the hope of the NHTSA that their causation survey will better enable drivers, manufacturers, engineers, and lawmakers to reduce the risk of crashes that claim the lives of so many people each year.
In the survey’s Executive Summary, the NHTSA notes: “The information about driver-related critical reasons will assist in the development of crash avoidance systems and collision warning systems, as well as improve the design of dashboard electronics, or telematics, that reduce the potential for driver inattention.
The effectiveness of vehicle-based countermeasures in mitigating the effects of various driver performance, recognition, and decision errors could be evaluated using this information.”
Free Legal Consult with a Doylestown Car Accident Attorney
If you or your loved one has been seriously injured in car accident that another driver was responsible for, it’s highly advisable to seek counsel from an attorney to determine your compensation options.
For a free legal consultation in Doylestown, contact Cordisco & Saile LLC at 215-642-2335.