Study Examines Causes of Car Accidents

Every year, thousands of people are killed in car accidents across the country.  In 2007 alone, there were 41,059 traffic related fatalities.  Even though auto manufacturers have taken measures to improve the safety of motor vehicles, crashes still happen on a daily basis.  In an effort to understand the causes of car accidents, the U.S. Congress authorized the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the U.S. Department of Transportation to conduct an analysis into the factors related to pre-crash events.  It had been nearly 30 years since the last on-scene crash causation study was conducted in the United States.  This article summarizes the findings from the study.

Researchers investigated a total of 6,950 accidents that occurred from January 2005 to December 2007.  The report, however, used only a representative sample of 5,471 accidents that were examined from July 3, 2005 to December 31, 2007.  During the data collection process, researchers were given permission by local law enforcement and emergency responders to be on the scene of the accident.  Since researchers were able to arrive at the scene of the crash, they were able to evaluate factors and events that led up to the crash, talk with witnesses, drivers and passengers and look at the physical evidence.

Some of the pre-crash events that led up to the accident were as follows:

  • Approximately 36 percent of the vehicles involved in accidents were turning or crossing at intersections just before the crash.
  •  Approximately 22 percent of the vehicles studied ran off the edge of the road.
  • Approximately 11 percent of the vehicles did not stay in the proper lane.
  • Approximately 12 percent of the vehicles were stopped prior to the crash.
  • Approximately 9 percent of the vehicles lost control right before the accident.

Researchers also assigned critical reasons for the auto accidents.  Surprisingly, speeding and aggressive driving were not the top reasons for car crashes. Some of the critical reasons that were related to the driver include:

  • Recognition errors, such as inattention, distractions, inadequate surveillance, etc. – 41 percent
  • Decision errors, such as driving aggressively, speeding, etc. – 34 percent
  • Performance errors, such as overcompensation, improper directional control, etc. – 10 percent

Other factors were examined as critical reasons.  Researchers found that approximately 18 percent of drivers were performing at least one non-driving activity.  The most common non-driving activity occurred when the driver was talking on a cell phone or to other passengers in the vehicle.

If you have been injured in a car crash, you need to speak with a Texas car accident lawyer immediately.  You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.  Contact the attorneys at VB Attorneys at 713-224-7800 or 877-724-7800 for advice regarding your case.

Vuk Stevan Vujasinovic
Experienced Injury Lawyer. First Generation American. Life-Long Texan. Husband. Father.