What Percentage of Car Accidents Are Caused by Human Error?
Each year, nearly 40,000 Americans are killed in auto accidents. An additional 4.4 million Americans suffer vehicle accident injuries that are serious enough to require medical attention. Traffic related crashes are the leading cause of death in the US for individuals between the ages of one and 54, and according to the Association for Safe International Road Travel (ASIRT), the growing epidemic of car accident fatalities and disabilities is becoming increasingly recognized as a major public health concern. And most are simply accidents due to human error.
How Common Are Car Accidents Due to Human Error
According to a 2016 study by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), somewhere between 94% and 96% of all car accidents are caused by human error. The results of the studies seem to argue in favor of the use of self-driving technology to eliminate the human element and significantly reduce the number of auto accident injuries and fatalities each year.
We still have a ways to go before self-driving cars will be ready to fully replace human drivers, but some of the technologies introduced in newer vehicles are already helping to keep motorists safer. In effort to prevent accidents due to human error, technology is helping by including backup cameras, blind spot detectors, lane departure warning sensors, forward collision warning sensors, and adaptive headlights. Safety features like these will be commonplace in the vehicles of the future, and someday, it is likely that vehicles will be at least partially if not fully automated.
What are the Most Common Causes of Car Accidents?
Of the 94% to 96% of auto accidents that result from human error, the NHTSA lists several factors that often contribute to these accidents:
- Distractions: Distracted driving is quickly becoming one of the leading causes of motor vehicle accidents. In our modern age, people have a constant need to ?stay connected?. And when they are driving, they are often tempted to quickly look down at their phone to read or send a text message. But even looking away from the road for a few seconds can result in disastrous consequences.
- Drowsiness and Fatigue: A surprising number of Americans drive when they are tired or sleepy. According to a National Sleep Foundation study, about half of all US adult drivers admit to driving while they were feeling drowsy. 20% admit to falling asleep behind the wheel at some point during the past year, and 40% admit to falling asleep at the wheel at least once during their driving careers.
- Aggressive/Reckless Driving: A large number of motor vehicle accidents are caused by aggressive driving behaviors that sometimes cross over into recklessness. Examples include speeding, tailgating, weaving in and out of lanes, running stop lights and stop signs, making dangerous or illegal turns, dangerous or illegal passing maneuvers, and many others. These types of behaviors greatly increase the chances of a car crash.
- Alcohol: After several decades of high-profile public awareness campaigns, almost all drivers are aware of the dangers of getting behind the wheel after having too much to drink. Unfortunately, a high number of motorists still drive drunk. Chemical impairment has been shown to slow reaction times and generally result in very poor driving decisions.
- Third-Party Negligence: Sometimes, auto accidents are caused by parties that are not directly involved in the crash. For example, something could go wrong with the vehicle while it is on the highway, such as the tire blowing out or the brake line failing. This could be the fault of the party responsible for maintaining the vehicle or the manufacturer, supplier, or distributor of a faulty vehicle or vehicle part. Poor road conditions that are caused by negligent road maintenance could also play a role in a vehicle crash.
Holding Responsible Parties Accountable for a Car Accident
When someone gets injured in an auto crash that was caused by someone else?s error or negligence, they deserve to be fully compensated. This is very important not only so the victim can be ?made whole?, but also to help ensure that those who cause auto accidents are held fully accountable. When those who are responsible are made to face the consequences of their actions, it provides a very strong incentive to drive more safely in the future.
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