What are the Leading Causes of Fatal Car Accidents?

Posted: April 16, 2020

leading causes of fatal car accidentsEven with yearly improvements in car safety, fatal car accidents still occur. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2018 nearly 37,000 people were killed in car accidents.

Fatal car accidents occur for a variety of different reasons, but there are some car crash circumstances that are more common than others. By acknowledging what circumstances are common in causing fatal car accidents, we may help prevent them in the first place.


Motorists should always follow the applicable Vehicle and Traffic Law. Speed limits must be obeyed because speeding can cut down on a driver’s reaction time. Drivers who speed run the risk of being involved in or creating a serious, fatal car accident. According to NHTSA, speeding has been a factor in approximately one-third of all fatal motor vehicle crashes for more than two decades.

Driving While Under the Influence

Alcohol-impaired-driving fatalities accounted for 29 percent of fatalities in 2018, according to the NHTSA. Driving under the influence is dangerous at any age and impairs the driver’s judgement, alertness, and reaction time. A driver under the influence not only endangers the driver’s life, but they also risk the lives of their passengers, pedestrians, and other motorists.

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving can be an issue for anyone on the road. Texting, talking with passengers, changing the radio station, eating or drinking, and messing with makeup or hair can all cause a driver to take their mind off the road. Driving requires concentration and the driver’s full attention. When a driver is distracted, it may lead to serious issues, including fatal car accidents.

Distracted driving can be an even greater risk at night when visibility is reduced. The most common form of distracted driving is cell phone use and texting, according to the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee. Shifting your concentrations away from driving to a non-driving task or activity can cause serious or fatal car accidents regardless of the time of day.

Improperly Changing Lanes

The reasons a driver may veer into another lane can vary. Improper lane changes can be the result of drowsiness, driving distracted, or a medical emergency, such as a heart attack or stroke. Unfortunately,  incidents like these can result in fatal car accidents. Failing to yield the right of way is another cause of sometimes fatal car accidents. Rules of the road should be followed.

Failure to Obey

Obeying stop signs and stoplights are something everyone learns when first learning how to drive. Ignoring traffic signs and signals or blowing through them can have disastrous effects, which can lead to fatal car accidents. It is important to focus solely on driving by paying attention to what the signs and signals on the road are telling you.

Reckless Driving

Intentionally driving in a reckless manner leads to about 33 percent of the fatal car accidents on the road. Reckless driving can include weaving in and out of traffic, speeding, or unsafe passing. Reckless driving is dangerous to everyone on the roadways and can lead to a serious or fatal car crash.

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If you have been injured in a car crash or lost a loved one due to a fatal car accident, William Mattar can help. Contact our experienced car accident lawyers for a 24/7 free consultation today at (844) 444-4444.

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