No Two Car Crashes Are Alike
Not many vehicle crashes are like the one that happened in Santa Ana, California last year, when a speeding driver hit a median and his car went airborne, then crashed into a dentists’ waiting room on the second floor of a nearby building. That was a weird one, maybe even unique, but there are many different kinds of crashes with many different causes.
The National Safety Council (NSC) reported an estimated 40,000 traffic fatalities in 2018, with 4.5 million people were seriously injured in crashes. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates about 10 million or more crashes go unreported each year. What are their different causes?
While every crash is different, and many different factors may be involved in each, distracted driving is often cited as the leading cause of crashes. The NHTSA reports that a common cause of driver distraction is cell phone use, whether speaking or texting or surfing the Internet on handheld smartphones. One study found that among drivers age 18 to 29, almost half (48 percent) accessed the Internet on a cell phone while driving.
Alcohol use remains a top cause of crashes: of the traffic fatalities in 2016, 28 percent of deaths in crashes were due to alcohol-impaired driving (NHTSA).
Speeding is a cause of approximately 30 percent of crashes, and drivers running red lights kill more than 900 people a year.
Americans typically are sleep-deprived, whether they are aware of it or not, and fatigue is another frequent cause of crashes. An estimated 21 percent of fatal crashes, 13 percent of crashes resulting in severe injury, and 6 percent of all crashes involve a drowsy driver, according to a 2014 AAA study. Another AAA study found that 37 percent of drivers report having fallen asleep behind the wheel at some point in their lives.
Interestingly, according to a study by the NSC, a lot of driver error may be due to the “Myth of Multitasking.” Medical studies have shown that the human brain is physiologically incapable of performing two important tasks at the same time. Rather, the brain engages in “micro-tasking,” handling only one task at a time but switching back and forth very quickly between competing tasks. How does this attempt at multitasking affect our driving? The right response to a hazard depends on seeing it and taking appropriate action to avoid it, usually within seconds. If the driver is texting on a phone or adjusting the radio, the brain is less likely to perceive road hazards in sufficient time to allow for a safe response.
At Hudson Law Firm, we put PERSONAL back into Personal Injury Law. For an injury claim evaluation, call us at (972) 360-9898, or visit our website to chat with an associate. We understand and care about your injury, and look forward to helping you with your accident claim.