causes of car accidents

What are the Most Common Causes of Auto Accidents?

Each year, there are millions of motor vehicle crashes in the United States. In Georgia alone, there are more than 1,000 crashes on average every day, and in 2018 (the most recent year we have full records for), 1,504 Georgians were killed in traffic-related events (according to the Governor?s Office of Highway Safety).

Although this was a small drop from the 1,540 traffic related fatalities in 2017, it is still significantly higher than the number of traffic deaths that occurred at the beginning of the decade. For example, in 2011, there were 1,226 fatalities from traffic-related events, and in 2012, there were 1,192. While those numbers were far from acceptable, our roadways are even more dangerous today than they were at the beginning of the last decade.

Sadly, most auto accidents are preventable. According to a 2016 report from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), human error is a factor in 94 to 96 percent of all motor vehicle crashes. Most of these errors come down to some type of driver negligence, but there are also outside parties that sometimes play a role in causing a car accident.

Common Causes of Motor Vehicle Accidents

Of those auto accidents that are caused by driver negligence, here are some of the most common reasons why they occur:

Distracted Driving

The vast majority of vehicle crashes involve some type of driver distraction. There are numerous ways a motorist can be distracted, including:

  • Eating and drinking;
  • Grooming;
  • Reaching for an object;
  • Talking to or handling a passenger;
  • Tuning a car radio;
  • Staring at a sign or billboard for too long;
  • Reading a GPS;
  • Talking on the phone;
  • Texting and sending and receiving other types of electronic messages through the phone;
  • Watching a video.

Driver distraction has always been a major issue, but many experts believe that one of the major contributors to the vast increase in car accidents in recent years is the types of distractions motorists are now subjecting themselves to.

Texting while driving and other types of electronic activity on a cell phone distract drivers in three ways; visually, manually, and cognitively. And if you are watching a video, you can add audibly to that list as well. This takes a driver?s complete focus away from the road, making it far more likely for them to miss important details, such as a pedestrian crossing in front of them, or a motorcycle getting into their blind spot.

In Georgia, it is illegal to drive while holding a cell phone, and this would include both talking and texting. And during just the first year after implementing the ?hands-free? law, state police wrote nearly 25,000 tickets to drivers who violated it. This shows what many other studies have confirmed; that a large number of motorists engage in the most dangerous types of distracted driving, even when it is against the law. There is a lot of skepticism as to whether a couple hundred dollars in fines is enough of a deterrent to prevent this behavior from occurring.


Exceeding the speed limit or driving faster than it is safe to under adverse weather conditions is one of the leading causes of car crashes. Most drivers have gone over the speed limit at one time or another, but for some people, this is a daily habit. Speeding is very dangerous, because the faster a vehicle travels, the less time the driver has to react when a potentially hazardous situation arises. Car accidents that are caused by speeding also tend to result in more serious and catastrophic injuries because of the force of the collision upon impact.

Reckless Driving

A reckless driver is one who drives with willful and wanton disregard for the rules of the road and the safety of others. And this type of behavior puts everyone on the road in greater danger of an accident. Excessive speeding is one form of reckless driving; others include tailgating, weaving in and out of lanes or straddling the center line in the road, dangerous or illegal passing maneuvers, running red lights and stop signs, making sharp turns at high speeds, street racing, and playing ?chicken?.

Drunk Driving

Groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (M.A.D.D.) have spent the last few decades running high profile public awareness campaigns highlighting the dangers of driving while intoxicated. While most people are aware that drunk driving causes slower reaction times, chemically alters your state of mind, and generally causes you to make poorer driving decisions, far too many individuals still make the horrible and often fateful decision to get behind the wheel after having too much to drink. Drunk driving claims the lives of more than 10,000 people each year, and this behavior is most common at night, on weekends, and during major holidays such as the night before Thanksgiving, New Year?s Eve, and the 4th of July.

Drowsy Driving

Driving while drowsy or fatigued does not get as much attention as other negligent driving behavior such as drunk driving or distracted driving, but it is still very dangerous. Drowsy driving is also more common than most people realize. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), one out of every 25 adult drivers report having fallen asleep behind the wheel within the past 30 days. Anyone who does not get enough sleep (for most adults, that is defined as 6 to 7 hours of sleep a night) is susceptible to drowsy driving, and it is more likely among certain groups, such as those who work long shifts, those who drive commercially for a living, and those who have untreated sleep disorders.

Auto Accidents caused by Third Party Negligence

As mentioned previously, there are outside parties that sometimes contribute to a car accident. These may include:

  • The party responsible for maintaining safe roadways or parking lots;
  • The party responsible for keeping a commercial vehicle maintained;
  • The company that employs a commercial vehicle driver;
  • The owner or lessor of a commercial truck;
  • A cargo or shipping company that overloads or unevenly loads a big rig truck;
  • The manufacturer, supplier, or distributor of a faulty vehicle or vehicle part.

Contact an Experienced Atlanta, GA Auto Accident Attorney

If you or a loved one suffered injury in a motor vehicle accident that was caused by another party?s negligence or reckless actions, you deserve to be fully compensated. Unfortunately, insurance companies are not looking out for your best interests, and many times, they will work to undermine your claim and cause you to lose out on the compensation you are entitled to. This is why it is always best to work with a skilled attorney who committed to fully protecting your rights and interests.

If your accident occurred in Georgia, contact the law office of Ross Moore II, P.C. for assistance. We will provide a complementary consultation to thoroughly review your case and advise you of your legal rights and options. And if we take your case, we will work on contingency (meaning you pay no upfront attorney fees), and we will put our extensive experience to work to explore every potential legal avenue toward recovering maximum compensation. Call our office today at (404) 491-8511 or message us online to schedule your free consultation.