While many other tragedies may make the headlines more often, fatal car accidents occur every single day in the United States. There have been over 38,600 deaths in one recent year. Given how much people drive in the U.S., it doesn’t come as a big surprise that accidents occur all of the time. The issue isn’t how much Americans drive, but instead, the way they drive that puts the lives of thousands of people in jeopardy. There are many causes that cause traffic fatalities throughout the U.S.
3,142 Americans lost their lives alone in 2019 and about 400,000 others became injured in distracted driving accidents. This is according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Many of those who suffered fatalities or were injured were not in vehicles, but instead pedestrians.
Texting and the use of cell phones are the leading distractions that result in fatal main causes of car accidents. Sending or reading a text takes your eyes off of the road for approximately five seconds. However, if you are driving at 55 miles per hour, a crash is almost inevitable, since it is comparable to traveling the length of a football field with your eyes shut.
Additionally, other things that can distract drivers include:
- Drinking and eating
- Applying makeup
- Brushing hair
- Watching video
- Using a GPS
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is extremely dangerous. Even though it is illegal, many Americans still get behind the wheel following too many drinks or after becoming impaired by narcotics. Every day, 30 Americans lose their lives to drunk drivers. This means that every 48 minutes, someone doesn’t make it home to their family due to the negligence of an intoxicated driver.
A driver that is extremely tired is just as dangerous as a driver that is drunk. Fatigued drivers experience the same level of motor, visual, and cognitive impairments as a driver with a blood-alcohol level of 0.05.
Driving fatigue is a huge problem for many commercial truck drivers who may feel pressured to remain behind the wheel longer than required by federal guidelines. Results are normally catastrophic when a drowsy driver of a huge 18 wheeler hits a smaller passenger vehicle. Even those drivers who do not fall asleep at the wheel still have a slower reaction time and their decision-making skills are typically impaired.
Unfortunately, many people drive faster than the speed limit that is posted on occasion, or the majority of the time. It is estimated that two-thirds of all drivers on highway roads in the entire country are going over the speed limit at any given time.
Speeding increases the chance of a crash that may result in the death of a driver or a passenger. A driver that is speeding doesn’t have much time to slow down to what’s in front of them or even sudden stops. Additionally, speeding also causes more vehicles to become susceptible to a loss of control due to bad weather conditions on the road.
Bad Road Conditions
Dangerous road conditions caused by the weather can cause many fatal accidents. This is why motorists must adjust the way they drive accordingly. Drivers should always use more caution when driving in bad road conditions and even through construction zones. It is unfortunate that too many drivers treat bad road conditions as smooth open roads. The problem is that failing to succumb to these necessary changes can lead to a wrongful death claim if the crash results in a fatality.