After you were involved in a car accident, you may be wondering, what are the main causes of car accidents? In the majority of crashes, at least one of the drivers involved made an error behind the wheel, leaving others in danger. Sometimes, police officers investigating the crash may assign blame to both drivers. Occasionally, police will determine neither driver is at fault.
Some of the primary errors a driver will make include distracted driving, drunken driving, reckless driving, and going too fast for weather conditions or for road conditions.
This assignment of fault for the crash is a key piece of information for those who want to attempt to file a personal injury lawsuit after suffering an injury in the car accident. If the other driver is found to be at fault through the law enforcement investigation, not as a matter of mere opinion, but as a conclusion drawn by careful examination of the physical evidence and other relevant information, you will have a far better chance of winning a judgment.
That said, sometimes police accident reports get it wrong. Their errors can range from minor mistakes in filling out the form, something as simple, and as obvious, as inadvertently placing information applicable to one driver or vehicle where it applies to the other driver or vehicle. Sometimes their errors are much more serious.At Friedman & Simon, LLP, we examine all the relevant, significant factors that pertain to the cause(s) of the accident, to uncover the information that will help build the strongest case possible for you.
Frequent Causes of Crashes in New York
Note: the information provided in this article is based on the most recent statistical information available from the New York DMV.
In New York state in 2014, according to the New York Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), the state had 254,829 crashes, leading to 966 fatalities and almost 109,000 injuries. The state divides the causes of those car accidents into three categories.
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Human Factor Crashes
By far, the most common cause for accidents in New York in 2014 involved a mistake by a driver, accounting for more than 78% of all reported crashes. (Some crashes had more than one factor.) Some of the leading factors within the human error category include:
- Driver distraction: involves things like violating New York’s distracted driving laws, such as through the use of a smartphone, paying attention to passengers instead of the road, and adjusting in-car entertainment settings, ultimately accounting for 19.1% of all crashes in the state in 2014.
- Following too closely: which accounted for 17.4% of all accidents and involves a driver not allowing for enough space between his or her car and the car in front, causing a rear-end collision if the driver in front has to slow or stop suddenly.
- Failure to yield: which accounted for 15.7% of all crashes in New York in 2014 and involves a driver entering an intersection or making a turn without yielding to another driver who has the right of way, leading to a collision.
- Speeding or reckless driving: where a driver is violating the speed limit or driving too fast for conditions, leading to a loss of control and a crash, eventually accounting for 10.9% of all crashes.
- Improper passing: which accounted for about 5.3% of all crashes in the state in 2014, where a driver cuts off another driver while passing or drifts into the other driver’s lane.
- Alcohol or drug use: where a driver violates New York’s drunken driving laws by taking drugs or consuming too much alcohol and causes an accident with other drivers, accounting for about 3.2% of all crashes.
Vehicular Factor Crashes
New York in 2014 had slightly more than 10,000 crashes, or almost 4% of all crashes, that was caused by a problem with the vehicle. This can include:
- Defective brakes
- Tire failure
- Defective headlights
- Malfunctioning accelerator
- Steering failure
If you were injured in this type of accident, and if you and your attorney can show that the other driver failed to maintain the car properly or that the car’s manufacturer or mechanic made an error in caring for the car, you could bring a personal injury lawsuit.
Environmental Factor Crashes
In 2014 in New York, more than 58,000 crashes were attributed to environmental factors, resulting in almost 23% of all crashes in the state.
The most common environmental factor cited is slippery or icy pavement, which accounted for about 10% of all crashes in the state in 2014. An animal darting into the road created about 9.1% of all crashes in the state in 2014. Other environmental factors that cause crashes include:
- Glare from sunlight
- Debris in the road
- Poor roadway integrity
- Traffic control devices malfunctioning
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Helping You Receive a Fair Settlement After an Accident
So what are the main causes of car accidents? When a driver makes a mistake on the road, this is the most frequent reason a motor vehicle crash will occur. Certain mistakes place the others on the road in additional danger, such as when a drunk driver is traveling at high speeds, as the drunk driver struggles to judge distances, which could lead to a failure to slow down when obstacles are in the road.
If you find yourself as the victim in a car accident where someone else was behaving in a reckless or negligent manner, leading to your injuries, you have the right to seek compensation for your pain, suffering, and medical bills.
The team at Friedman & Simon, L.L.P., is ready to defend your rights to receive awards. We will take the time to investigate the facts in your case, helping us determine exactly what happened. Call us as soon as possible at (516) 932-0400 for a free case review.