Causes of Car Accidents

It is a shocking number: 35,092 people were killed in car accidents in the United States in 2015. Sadly, that number is not unusually high compared to other years. Over the last decade, in fact, an average of 35,000 people have died in car accidents annually. If you don’t know someone who has been fatally injured or suffered injuries in a car accident, these are just numbers. But to the victims and their loved ones, the memory of a car accident is deeply and painfully personal.

Even though we may benefit from ever-improving technology that can make road travel safer, there are still numerous reasons car accidents occur. A few of the more common causes are detailed below:

Distracted Driving: Statistics tell us that distracted drivers were responsible for almost 16 percent of all car accidents between 2010 and 2014. The deadliest on the list of distractions is texting, but other distractions include talking on cell phones, eating or drinking, talking to passengers, adjusting radio controls, and using a navigational device. In the above four-year period, 4.5 million crashes were caused by distracted driving. Drivers using hand-held devices were four times more likely to get into an accident; drivers who text were 23 times more likely to cause an accident.

Drowsy Driving: Driving while fatigued is a major cause of car accidents in the United States. There are many causes of drowsy driving, including shift work, medication, alcohol, sleep disorders, and obviously a lack of good sleep. Driving while tired can slow reaction time, impact a driver’s ability to make good decisions, and can cause drivers to be less attentive – often resulting in tragedy. In 2013, for example, drowsy driving was responsible for 72,000 crashes, 44,000 injuries, and 800 fatalities, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NTHSA). Furthermore, it was estimated that one in 25 adult drivers (18 and over) reported falling asleep at the wheel in the previous 30 days prior to a Centers for Disease Control (CDC) sponsored survey.

Speeding: Many people speed when they are late and feeling the pressure to reach their destination faster. But a recent study shows that speeding doesn’t make much of a difference timewise. On average, city drivers gained just two minutes a week, or 26 seconds a day, by speeding. Yet speeding is a major cause of motor vehicle accidents. In fact, speeding is the cause of approximately one-third of all accidents in the United States. Between 2006 and 2015 – 108,554 accidents were caused by speeding. Nearly 10,000 speed-related deaths occurred in 2015 alone.

Drunk Driving: Drinking impairs your judgment, your alertness, your reaction time, and so much more. Yet drunk driving accounts for 28 fatal motor vehicle accidents in the United States every day. That translates to one death every 53 minutes. Between 2010 and 2014, drunk driving contributed to approximately one-third of car accident fatalities. Sixty percent of all teen deaths in car accidents were alcohol-related. Drunken driving also results in a wide range of other serious injuries – from broken bones to traumatic brain injuries (TBI).

Road Rage / Aggressive Driving: When someone becomes frustrated and loses their temper while driving, road rage or other aggressive driving may be the outcome. This can result in disaster for drivers who are obeying the rules of the road. Road rage can take many forms: slamming on the brakes, intentionally hitting another vehicle, running a vehicle off the road, and more. Research tell us that at least 1,700 people are injured or killed in road rage incidents each year. It is always the best choice to get out of the way of an aggressive driver, and to drive directly to a police station or some other safe place if you are pursued by an angry motorist.

Auto Defects: There are two types of motor vehicle defects that can potentially cause accidents. The first is manufacturing defects that occur during the assembly process. They are usually an unplanned consequence, or a departure from the intended design, and may affect one specific part, such as a fuel pump. The second is design defects that occur when the design itself is flawed. One example of such a faulty design is the Takata airbag, which potentially sent shrapnel flying at passengers.

Contact the New Jersey Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr


If you have been injured in or lost a loved one in a car accident, we will fight to win the compensation you deserve. To schedule a free initial consultation with our experienced New Jersey car accident lawyers, contact our office online or call us at 732-249-4600 (toll-free at 1-877-249-4600). We are available to meet with you between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., Monday through Friday. Evening and weekend consultations are also available upon request, and we will travel to meet with you.

The Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr are located in Highland Park, New Jersey serving the communities of New Brunswick, Edison, Somerset, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Iselin, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy and Colonia, New Jersey.