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What Are the Main Causes of Car Crashes?


About 5.25 million accidents occur each year due to car crashes. This amounts to roughly one car accident every 60 seconds. Data collected by Safe International Road Travel led to the estimate that roughly 37,000 individuals die each year due to car crashes. But what exactly causes these car crashes to occur? Let’s take a look at what the data have to say about the main causes of car crashes throughout the nation.

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving takes on several forms but is usually described as an individual driving while their focus and attention is on something else. For many, distracted driving looks like texting while driving or even eating while driving.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving claimed the lives of 3,142 in 2019, accounting for 8.7% of all car crash fatalities that year.

Unsurprisingly, distracted driving typically impacts young people, with 25% of distracted drivers ranging between the ages of 20 and 29. To combat this problem, 48 states including the District of Columbia have banned the use of cell phones while driving.

Impaired Driving

Impaired driving is described as driving while under the influence of alcohol or any other substance or drug. Impaired driving, especially driving under the influence of alcohol, is a major factor in car crashes. The NHTSA details that alcohol-impaired car crashes account for roughly 28% of all car crash fatalities. In 2019, 10,142 people died in alcohol-impaired crashes.

All states have laws in place about drinking while under the influence or impaired. Across the nation, driving with a blood alcohol of 0.08% or higher is illegal, but so is driving with a lower blood alcohol concentration if driving is impaired.

Poor Weather

The lack of visibility due to weather conditions is another contributing factor to car crashes. Unsurprisingly, car crash rates increase during the winter months because of these poor driving conditions. According to the NHTSA, 17% of all car crashes occur during winter conditions. Every year, roughly 154,000 car accidents occur because of icy road conditions. Being unable to stop in time, skidding, sliding, and losing control of your vehicle are all factors that contribute to car crashes during the wintertime.

Reckless Driving

According to the NHTSA, reckless driving is another major contributing factor to car crashes. Reckless driving takes on many forms and can include speeding, running red lights, failing to obey traffic signs, and aggressive driving. Here are some common examples related to reckless driving.


According to the Insurance Information Institute, speed-related crashes cost Americans an average of $40.4 billion each year. The NHTSA details that in 2018, speed accounted for 31% of U.S. teen driver fatalities.

Running Red Lights and Stop Signs

Another sign of aggressive or reckless driving is running red lights and stop signs. In 2019, an estimated 143,000 people were injured in car crashes because a driver ran a red light. According to the Federal Highway Administration, roughly 56% of adults have admitted to running red lights.

Aggressive driving

Aggressive driving can go beyond disregarding road signs. Aggressive drivers may try to run other drivers off of the road, travel at excessive speeds, and even participate in road rage that causes them or other drivers to lose control. According to one statistic attributed to the NHTSA and Auto Vantage Auto Club, 66% of all traffic fatalities in 2019 were caused by aggressive driving. Reports indicate that males and younger drivers ages 19 – 39 were more likely to be aggressive drivers.

Driving Fatigued

Driving while tired is another contributing factor to car crashes. According to the NHTSA, there were 697 fatalities in 2019 because of motor vehicle crashes involving drowsy drivers, accounting for just under 2% of all fatalities in 2019.

When to Seek Legal Guidance?

Car crashes are one of the leading causes of personal injury lawsuits. If you or someone you know has been injured due to a motor vehicle car accident, you might have legal options available to you. In Philadelphia, contact Benedum Law today for a free consultation on your case.

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