Statistics compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show there are various reasons why car accident fatalities occur each year. Distracted driving, speeding, drunk driving, not wearing seatbelts and ignoring the right of way cause thousands of deaths annually. Auto accident-related fatalities kill 37,000 per year in the U.S.
Traffic Violations That Cause the Most Car Accident Fatalities
Common traffic violations that cause deaths include:
- Speeding. Reckless driving, including driving over the posted speed limit, cause accidents and increases the impact forces associated with collisions. Therefore, speeding increases the chances of a car accident causing deaths or serious injuries. This is especially true if the impact is with a pedestrian, motorcyclist or bicyclist.
- Drunk and drugged driving. Driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs is a known car accident risk. On average, there are 10,000 or more drunk driving deaths in the U.S. each year. Drugged driving is also a problem. Drivers on certain prescription or over-the-counter drugs are at a higher risk of crashing.
- Distracted driving. Distracted driving deaths often involve mobile phones, but there are other distractions that may also lead to a fatal accident. Eating or grooming behind the wheel may lead to an accident. Depending on which state or municipality you are driving in, these actions may be against the law.
- Not wearing seatbelts. It is against the law to not wear a seatbelt. However, a ticket should be the least of your worries. Not wearing a seatbelt significantly increases the risk of dying in a car accident or suffering a life-altering catastrophic injury. Seatbelts stop you from experiencing the full impact force of a collision.
- Ignoring the right of way. Certain types of people have the right of way and ignoring this law can lead to deaths and serious injuries. For instance, motorists ignoring the right of way is a major cause of motorcycle accident deaths. The same is true for bicyclists and pedestrians. Fatalities are possible when a passenger or commercial vehicles proceed ahead of these other people.
- Not using lights at night. You must have your lights on if you are driving in the late evening hours or at night. In California, you must also turn your lights on during rain. When motorists ignore these laws, it increases the risk of an accident.
- Ignoring California’s “Basic Speed Law”. Motorists in California must follow California’s basic speed law, which states that you must drive at speeds that are reasonable for current conditions. For instance, this means you must slow down and drive carefully during poor weather.
- Road rage/aggressive driving. Road rage is a problem in California and across the country. Tailgating, speeding, cutting others off or even chasing down other motorists can lead to fatal auto accidents.
California drivers must not take actions that unreasonably risk the safety of other people. When motorists ignore this rule, they could be liable for damages they cause. Victims of car accidents or their family members may have legal options to file a lawsuit.
Compensation from a car accident lawsuit can help you pay for various expenses associated with an injury or loss. For instance, a settlement or verdict can help pay for medical bills and lost income. A car accident attorney at our firm can help you determine your legal options after an accident. You can reach out to us by calling (209) 340-1110 or by using our online case review form.