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The Leading Causes of Motor Vehicle Accidents

Monday February 20, 2023

Despite technological innovations to help reduce motor vehicle crashes, such as lane departure technology, blind-spot detection, forward collision systems, backup cameras, automatic emergency braking systems, and rear crash-imminent braking, car wrecks still happen on our roads. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that 38,824 people died in road accidents in 2020, with over 2.2 million sustaining injuries.

Being involved in an accident can be stressful and overwhelming. Whether you sustain a minor or severe injury, a motor vehicle accident can completely alter your life. A crash can result in steep medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, property damage, and permanent disability.

While some accidents are not avoidable, most are. When it comes to crashes, some factors lead to more accidents than others. Knowing the main causes of motor vehicle accidents could help you avoid getting into one or determine what you should do after being involved in one. 

The Top 5 Causes of Motor Vehicle Accidents in the U.S.

Most traffic accidents have nothing to do with whether drivers know how to drive. They happen because of the decisions that drivers make behind the wheel — human error. Here are five common causes of motor vehicle accidents:

1. Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is any activity that takes a driver's attention away from the wheel. The NHTSA reports that 3,142 people were killed by distracted drivers in 2020. Activities like talking to passengers, eating, drinking, daydreaming, and adjusting the radio are all distractions.

Texting while driving is the most alarming distraction. If you took your eyes off the road for five seconds while driving at 55 mph to reply to a text, you'd have hypothetically driven across an entire football field while looking at your phone.

To drive safely, all your attention must be on the road. Any nondriving activity you engage in while on Connecticut roads is a potential distraction that can lead to a motor vehicle accident.

2. Drunk Drivers

Roughly 32 people die every day in the U.S. due to drunk driving accidents, which translates to one person every 45 minutes. According to the NHTSA, 11,654 people lost their lives in drunk driving accidents in 2020. These accidents could be prevented if only drivers wouldn't engage in such risky behaviors while on our highways.

If you consume alcohol and it exceeds a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08, you'd be breaking Connecticut traffic laws if you decided to drive. Some of the effects that drivers may experience when they exceed this legal limit include:

  • Impaired vision
  • Slurred speech
  • Difficulty with color distinction
  • Overconfidence
  • Reduced reaction times
  • Difficulty multitasking
  • Feeling drowsy
  • Impaired judgment
  • Disregard for traffic signals
  • Lowered alertness
  • Short-term memory loss

3. Excessive Speeds

Speeding is a leading cause of death in motor vehicle accidents in Connecticut and across the U.S. This reckless action endangers everyone on the road and increases a driver's crash risk. Despite our busy schedules, all drivers should obey traffic laws and stick to posted speed limits to protect all road users. 

Speeding is more than just breaking federal and state laws. In 2020, 11,258 people died in speeding-related accidents. Approximately 5% of speeding drivers in fatal crashes didn't have seat belts on. 

The consequences of speeding on our roads include:

  • Increased likelihood of more severe injuries, e.g., spinal cord injuries or traumatic brain injuries
  • Greater potential to lose control
  • Increased fuel consumption
  • Increased wear and tear of the vehicle
  • Increased stopping distance once a driver spots danger
  • Reduced effectiveness of protective gear like airbags
  • Increased likelihood of rollover accidents

4. Poor Weather Conditions

Slippery roads from ice, snow, and rain can affect traction, forcing cars to lose control and hit other vehicles or stationary objects. Wind speed, fog, and water levels may also cause weather-related motor vehicle crashes. 

5. Driver Fatigue

When drivers are fatigued, they engage in drowsy driving. This can happen when you haven't had enough sleep, have done excessive shift work, or are suffering from an untreated sleep disorder. 

The NHTSA estimates that 633 people died from drowsy driving accidents in 2020. However, determining the exact number of such accidents isn't yet possible since clues aren't always conclusive.

The above are some of the major causes of motor vehicle accidents in Connecticut. Other causes include:

If you have been involved in an accident and believe any of the above causes of motor vehicle accidents led to your injuries, seek immediate medical attention and contact a car accident lawyer to discuss your options.

How To Reduce the Risk of Motor Vehicle Accidents

Accidents happen quickly. In a flash of a second, you can find yourself in a multiple-car accident. But how can you take proactive measures to prevent this from happening? Here are some tips that can help reduce the risk of motor vehicle accidents:

  1. Always wear a seat belt.
  2. Don't exceed speed limits.
  3. Don't follow too closely.
  4. Park with care.
  5. Never assume.
  6. Don't drink and drive.
  7. Never think that being on time for work, a business meeting, an interview, school, or a social engagement is worth more than your life and safety.
  8. Never think it can't happen to you.
  9. Avoid distractions while on the wheel.
  10. Don't overestimate your ability to multitask.
  11. Train for poor weather conditions.
  12. Drive a safe vehicle.

If You've Been in a Crash, Get in Touch With Our Car Accident Lawyers

Despite considerable awareness and education, thousands of accidents still happen every year, killing and injuring innocent Connecticut residents. Speeding, drunk driving, and distracted driving are some of the leading causes of motor vehicle accidents on our roads. Still, other factors contribute to traffic crashes. 

If you or someone you care about has been injured in a car accident, contact our car accident lawyers for legal guidance. Kennedy, Johnson, Schwab & Roberge can help you get the compensation you deserve that may cover your medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and other losses.

Call 203-865-8430 today or fill out our contact form to schedule your free, no-obligation case review.

Get in Touch

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At Kennedy, Johnson, Schwab & Roberge, P.C., we handle all cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that we do not get paid unless and until you receive a settlement or a jury award.

Schedule a free, confidential consultation with a skilled Connecticut personal injury lawyer today.

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