Despite advancements in vehicle safety technology, the number of fatalities due to auto accidents continues to rise. Well over a million people die each year on roads around the world.
What’s causing all of these accidents? According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the leading cause of death among people aged 3 to 33 is not related to a lack of safety features, but rather the inattention and preoccupation of the drivers themselves. Inattentive, drunk, and aggressive drivers are the greatest threat to the rest of us and the necessary precautions should be taken to avoid them whenever possible.
The following are the top four leading causes of car accidents:
- Distracted Drivers. According to Mark Edwards, Director of Traffic Safety at the American Automobile Association, somewhere between 25-50% of all motor vehicle crashes in the U.S. are directly related to driver distraction. These distractions include texting and rubbernecking (slowing down to observe another accident), accounting for 16% of all distraction-related crashes. Cell phone use while driving is a major concern with as many as 85% of the estimated 100 million cell-phone users regularly doing it. One study found that driving while talking on a cell phone quadruples the risk of crashing.
Other common driver distractions include:
- Driver fatigue (12%)
- Looking at scenery (10%)
- Other passengers or children (9%)
- Adjusting the radio or CD player (7%)
- Reading the newspaper, books, maps, or other documents (less than 2%)
- Driver Fatigue. According to the U.S. National Traffic Safety Administration, driver fatigue accounts for about 100,000 accidents every year in the United States, with the greatest risk between the hours of 11:00pm and 8:00am, when our circadian rhythms tell our bodies it’s time for sleep.
Fatigued drivers experience heavy eyelids, frequent yawning, a vehicle that drifts over road lines, fluctuating vehicle speed, misjudging traffic situations, seeing things “jump out” on the road, feeling fidgety or irritable and daydreaming.
- Drunk Driving. Drunk driving continues to be a leading cause of crashes despite the increased legislation on fines, driver suspensions and possible jail time. Between 1987 to 2008 the percentages of fatalities due to drunk driving declined, but there have been virtually no further declines in these numbers over the past 12 years. In fact, they have increased slightly in recent years.
- Aggressive Driving. Aggressive driving is defined as speeding, running red lights, tailgating, weaving in and out of traffic, and failing to yield the right of way, among other behaviors. These include:
- Flashing lights at other drivers because you’re irritated at them.
- Aggressive or rude gestures.
- Deliberately preventing another driver changing lanes.
- Verbal abuse.
- Physical assaults.
- Disregarding traffic signals.
- Changing lanes frequently or in an unsafe manner.
Collision statistics have revealed that 27% of fatalities and 19% of serious injuries involve speeding; 40% of speeding drivers involved in fatal crashes were 16 to 24 years of age; most drivers killed in speed-related crashes were the ones speeding; 80% of young adult passengers who were killed in a speeding crash were in the vehicle with a speeding driver of similar age; single-vehicle crashes accounted for more than 50% of speeding deaths and serious injuries; and one in three speeding drivers involved in a fatal crash had been drinking. Urban roads at night are the primary location for fatal crashes involving young adult drivers since they have a high concentration of bars, restaurants and other places where alcohol is served.
Source: Waterdown Collision