Leading Causes of Car Accidents

All drivers in California have a duty of care not to injure others while operating a motor vehicle. Nonetheless, thousands of individuals are injured in car accidents in the state each year, often leading to personal injury claims. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident that was not your fault, you may be entitled to significant compensation. In the meantime, this article is a brief discussion of the leading causes of car accidents.

Common Causes of Car Accidents

While many car accidents are the result of external factors such as road or weather conditions, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that the majority of car accidents are caused by driver errors. There are numerous driver errors that can contribute to a car accident, such as:

  • Distracted driving
  • Driving under the influence
  • Driver fatigue
  • Speeding

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of car accidents, which is why talking or texting on a mobile device while driving is unlawful in California. While many drivers disregard these laws, others also become distracted by eating, drinking, using onboard technology like GPS systems or talking to other passengers.

However, the National Safety Council (NSC) has conducted studies showing that multi-tasking while driving is not possible because the human brain is not capable of performing two important tasks at the same time. In particular, drivers who switch their attention from driving to onboard technological devices, smartphones, and other distractions are not capable of anticipating or reacting to dangers posed by road conditions and other vehicles.

Driving Under the Influence

Despite the public awareness of the dangers of drunk driving, the NHTSA finds that DUI contributes to about 40 percent of the car accident fatalities in the nation each year. It goes without saying that getting behind the wheel while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is illegal, unnecessary and reckless. In sum, driving under the influence has a negative impact on reaction time, vision and depth perception, and a driver’s ability to control his or her vehicle.

Driver Fatigue

Individuals who drive for a living, such as truckers, sales people, rideshare and limo drivers, and others who drive long distances or while they are tired are prone to becoming fatigued. Fatigued drivers have slower reaction times, are more prone to becoming distracted, or may even fall asleep at the wheel — with devastating consequences.


Speed limits are designed to keep the roads and highways safe. Speeding drivers are unable to stop quickly enough to respond to road conditions or avoid obstacles, often causing high-impact collisions that result in catastrophic injuries.

The Takeaway

Despite traffic safety laws, car accidents remain far too common in California. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident that was not your fault, you should speakd with an experienced personal injury attorney.

Posted in: Automobile Accidents