Over 37,000 people die in motor vehicle accidents annually in the United States, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Over 2.3 million people are injured or permanently disabled as a result of automobile accidents each year. Because of the high number of people injured, disabled, and killed in automobile accidents, understanding the underlying causes of automobile accidents is helpful. Five of the most commonplace causes of automobile accidents in the U.S.A. are:
- Distracted driving
- Impaired driving
- Exceeding the lawful speed limit
- Speed in excess of prevailing conditions
- Failure to yield
Despite a concerted effort by governmental agencies and a variety of organizations to keep drivers focused on roadways, distracted driving remains one of the most frequently occurring causes of automobile accidents in the United States. The sad reality of distracted driving accidents is that the injuries and deaths associated with these catastrophic accidents are completely avoidable if drivers focused on the task at hand and kept their eyes on the road.
The most frequently occurring types of distracted driving accidents include:
- Talking on a mobile phone
- Texting (alas, texting and driving remains a pervasive motoring hazard)
- Talking to passengers
- Eating or drinking
- Adjusting an entertainment system
- Using a GPS
Impaired driving remains a major underlying cause of automobile accidents in the United States, indeed around the world. The most regularly recurring type of impaired driving accident involves the driver having used (or even over-imbibed) alcohol.
Despite drunk drivers dominating the impaired motoring category, other situations involving driver impairment exist. These include drivers who take to the road after ingesting certain prescription medications that leave them impaired to some degree.
Presently, there is an ongoing debate regarding the use of marijuana before driving. This discussion has grown more intense as more states have legalized the medical and even recreational use of marijuana.
Driver fatigue is another form of impairment that negatively impacts a driver’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. Driver fatigue is a significant problem among big-rig operators who have to make longer, over-the-road hauls.
Exceeding Lawful Speed Limit
Another one of the commonplace causes of automobile accidents is driving in excess of the posted speed limit. The bottom line is that speed limits exist for a reason. A considerable amount of attention is paid to ascertaining the safest reasonable speed for a particular street or highway.
Exceeding the lawful speed limit is particularly problematic and dangerous in two types of special zones. Exceeding the posted speed limit on construction and school zones is a significant cause of automobile accident injuries and deaths every year across the United States.
Speed in Excess of Prevailing Conditions
On a related note, driving at a speed in excess of what prevailing weather or other conditions permit represents another significant cause of automobile accidents annually. Despite the fact that the need to drive more slowly and to keep a greater distance between vehicles during inclement weather is pounded into people’s heads, time and time again drivers operate their vehicles too fast and drive too close to others.
Failure to Yield
Some of the deadliest motor vehicle accidents occur because drivers fail to yield the lawful right away. This includes drivers disobeying traffic signals as well as stop or yield signs.
Victims of various categories are injured and killed because of this type of driver negligence or recklessness. These include people in vehicles that are t-boned in an intersection by a vehicle unlawfully failing to stop or yield. These also include pedestrians and bicyclists with the right of way who are injured or killed because of a driver failing to stop or yield as required.
As mentioned at the outset, many automobile accidents have serious and even deadly consequences. As a result, if you are injured in a motor vehicle accident, or if you lose a family member in this type of accident, you best protect your vital legal interests by retaining the services of a skilled, experienced automobile accident lawyer. An injured person is well-served being as proactive as possible when it comes to hiring a car accident lawyer. The typical automobile accident attorney charges no fee for an initial consultation and case evaluation with a prospective client.