Main Reasons For Traffic Collisions In The United States


    Thousands of accidents occur each day in the United States. According to official statistics, Charlotte, North Carolina is the second most accident-prone city in the United States after Houston, Texas with Los Angeles, California trailing at number three. This is the reason why a Car Crash Lawyer in Greensboro, NC is not hard to find. This is especially important because a lot of people do not carry insurance and they do not want to admit that it is their mistake. 

    Based on the information from the “National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Survey” conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 97% of car accidents are due to a driver’s error. An accident is when you accidentally drop your cell phone in the swimming pool because you slipped. Running through an amber or red light hoping no one will cut you off at the intersection is not an accident. This is why law enforcement officers always refer to car accidents as traffic collisions. 

    Law enforcement officers have identified that one of the most hazardous locations is the intersection. Most traffic collisions occur at intersections. According to statistics, all of these traffic collisions could have easily been avoided with a little better judgment on behalf of one of the drivers. Let’s look at some of the top reasons why traffic collisions occur in the United States.

    These are the five most frequent causes of traffic collisions in the United States for vehicles of all models, sizes, and makes.

    Distracted Driving

    Distracted driving is the main cause of road accidents in the United States that results in the most traffic collisions. The number of traffic collisions due to distracted driving is higher than those for drunk driving, speeding, or any other major reason. The alarming information is that not only is it the main cause of traffic collisions for small to medium vehicles. Distracted driving is also the number one cause of traffic collisions for trucks, buses, and other large vehicles. 

    Research workers conducted a comprehensive investigation to determine exactly what caused distracted driving traffic collisions. A survey was conducted with the respondents allowed to choose more than one reason for being distracted while driving. The following are some of the findings.

    • 80% talking to other riders;
    • 66% adjusting the controls on the radio;
    • 51% using a map;
    • 46% eating or drinking while driving;
    • 41% made outbound calls or accepted phone calls;
    • 30% using a portable stereo system with speakers;
    • 27% communicating instructions to children in the back seat;
    • 26% using a smartphone, tablet, or other personal devices to receive driving directions;
    • 22% replacing CDs, DVDs, or tapes;
    • 10% reading email or text messages;
    • 6% busy personal grooming;
    • 6% sending important or urgent text messages or email;

    All of these distractions are complex distractions. This means that they can not be easily addressed by implementing simple changes over a short time. The survey concluded that young drivers, between the ages of 21 and 24, were (49%) more likely to be involved in sending or receiving a text message or email while driving. Almost 90% of the passengers riding with these drivers would feel very unsafe as the driver sent or received a text message or email while driving. 

    The government has taken steps to make sure that drivers do not take their eyes off the road by formulating laws that can deter drivers from using their mobile phones while driving. These laws are often most prevalent in communities where there are a majority of young drivers. 


    Speeding is the second most common cause of traffic collisions in the United States. A vehicle traveling at high speeds is a hazard on the road for multiple reasons. The first reason is that a vehicle traveling at high speeds will take a longer time to stop even with perfect driving conditions. A vehicle traveling at high speeds has the potential to cause much more damage if it comes into contact with another vehicle or object. Another cause for concern with speeding is that the driver has a very small window to make the right decision at the right time before a traffic collision is imminent. 

    These are just some of the reasons why traffic collisions involving vehicles traveling at high speeds are almost always fatal. The world saw the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus in late 2019 and this also influenced the driving conditions in the United States. In March, April, and May 2020 we see a decline in the number of speeding-related traffic collisions as a percentage of total fatalities according to the NHTSA. But from June up to December 2020, we see a 7% increase in the number of monthly speeding fatalities in comparison to the previous year. 

    There are some regions in the United States which saw an increase in speeding traffic collision fatalities throughout the whole year of 2020. The states of Texas, New Mexico, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Oklahoma recorded the most speeding fatalities from March to September and November of 2020. On a whole, there was an increase of 11% from 2019 to 2020 in the number of speeding-related fatalities. One-third of the traffic collisions in the United States list speeding as a justification for the traffic collision. 

    Young drivers, between the ages of 18 and 32, are more likely to be involved in a speeding traffic collision. Many young drivers do not consider driving 5 or 10 mph above the speed limit as speeding or reckless endangerment. Pedestrians coming into contact with a speeding vehicle have less than a 50% chance of surviving the incident. 

    Drunk Driving

    Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States are the only countries in the world where a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of 0.08% or lower is acceptable for drivers. A majority of the countries in the world completely prohibit drunk driving. The rest of the countries that do not outlaw drunk driving consider a blood alcohol concentration level between 0.02% to 0.05% as an acceptable range. A surprising fact is that at least 30 people die in alcohol-related traffic collisions each day in the United States.

    According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, more than 30% of all traffic collision fatalities occur due to drunk drivers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men are two times more likely to be drunk driving in comparison to women. At least 800 pedestrians get injured daily in the United States by coming into contact with drunk drivers. A majority of the drunk drivers with BAC levels above 0.08% are more likely to cause a collision at night than in the day. 

    Drivers cannot refuse an officer to perform a sobriety test which usually consists of the suspected driver reciting the alphabet, walking in a straight line, or performing simple instructions. Legal action can be taken against a driver that refuses to comply with the demands of an officer to perform a sobriety test. Driving under the influence of alcohol should be a one-time charge for most drivers but it often is not. A driver that has received a fine for drunk driving will often become a repeat offender regardless of the legal consequences. 

    This is why some states require a person charged with drunk driving to install an ignition interlock device so that these drivers can not get back on the street under the influence of alcohol. The “Zero Tolerance” law prohibits drivers under the age of 21 to drive with any level of blood alcohol concentration in their system. The zero-tolerance law is only applicable in some states within the United States. 

    What To Do After A Traffic Collision?

    Being involved in a traffic collision can be an appalling experience for anyone. Victims are often mentally traumatized and physically injured by the traffic collision for the rest of their life. There might be certain circumstances where the victim might not have extreme physical injuries, but the vehicle will be permanently damaged. Ideally, drivers should always be prepared for a traffic collision. 

    Let’s look at some of the steps you should take after a traffic collision:

    Step 1: Do Not Leave The Scene Of The Traffic Collision

    Do not leave the place where the traffic collision occurred unless and until a law enforcement officer arrives. Never think that it is just a small accident and leave without the law enforcement officer arriving at the scene. Leaving the scene of a traffic collision is considered a crime. 

    Step 2: Exchange Driver, Vehicle, & Passenger Information

    Step out of your vehicle and calmly speak to the other driver, passengers, and other witnesses. Exchange vehicle information, such as the car’s make, model, and VIN number, with the other driver. Exchange contact information with the other driver. Do not hesitate to take photos of the traffic collision to convey information to the people who are not present. 

    Most importantly, do not sign any document unless a police officer is present. Always ask for the other driver’s contact information especially if you live in a ‘no-fault’ state or if the driver does not have insurance. 

    Step 3: Check Yourself & Passengers For Injuries

    The driver and passengers can sustain serious physical injuries in a serious traffic collision. In some cases, victims might have open wounds and fractures. You can always call 911 to get emergency medical services and law enforcement to arrive at your location as soon as possible. The law enforcement officers that arrive at the scene of the traffic collision can also help victims receive emergency medical services.


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