The first fatal motor vehicle accident happened in 1896. In the aftermath, the attending coroner remarked, “This must never happen again.” Sadly, it has. To the tune of about 25 million and counting. In fact, the numbers seem to keep rising, with nearly 1.2 million people dying each year in car accidents. Even scarier is the fact that automobile accidents are the number one cause of death for people between the ages of 3 and 33.
So why are all these accidents happening? They can be broken down into five primary causes and here they are, in ascending statistical order:
- Aggressive driving. Following too closely, changing lanes quickly and failing to yield to other vehicles is a surefire way to get into an accident.
- Speeding. Going too fast not only increases the chance of an accident, it also makes the damage more severe when one does happen. In fact, the energy release at 40 mph is nearly half that of the energy release at 60 mph.
- Drunk driving. Inebriated drivers take thousands of lives every year.
- Driver fatigue. The U.S. National Traffic Safety Administration estimates that fatigued drivers in the U.S. cause around 100,000 accidents each year.
- Distracted driving. Things like texting, putting on makeup, changing the radio and rubber necking account for 25 to 50 percent of all crashes.
As you can see, all of these are preventable by modifying behavior. However, no matter how safe you are, you can’t account for the drivers with whom you share the road. If you’ve lost a loved one in a fatal motor vehicle accident, you may want to think about contacting an attorney.