Cause of Car Accidents?

What Is the Number One Cause of Car Accidents?

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What Is the Number One Cause of Car Accidents?

Hundreds of car accidents occur each day in the United States, and more than 100 people die every day as a result of being involved in a vehicle collision. It’s a sad statistic because, often, these accidents are totally preventable.

If you’re interested in knowing what is the number 1 cause of car accidents, you may have been involved in one yourself and are researching how to gain compensation for your injuries and losses. You’ve come to the right place because Morgan & Morgan’s personal injury attorneys have a stellar reputation for winning verdicts and negotiating favorable settlements for our clients.

While road accidents occur for a variety of reasons, sometimes in combination with others, the consequences are frequently the same. People get hurt, and property is damaged. Here is the answer to what is the number 1 cause of car accidents in the United States. 


Distracted driving is the number one cause of car accidents.

About eight people die every day in crashes that involve distracted driving. Furthermore, it leads to about 920,000 total accidents per year, including fatalities. The definition of distracted driving is uncomplicated. If a driver engages in any activity that takes their eyes off the road, it is considered distracted driving. It can be literally anything, and it’s extremely common but can lead to harsh consequences. 

Texting and driving is a huge culprit of distracted driving, and it’s led to laws being enacted in some states, with many following suit as the ramifications become more apparent each year. However, texting and driving is an obvious example. If you’re texting and driving, you’re literally not paying attention to the road, rather your cell phone. Other examples of distracted driving are eating, fiddling with GPS, checking up on child passengers, applying makeup, rummaging around in a briefcase, or even daydreaming and forgetting to maintain focus. 

While the statistics don’t lie, an astonishing number of Americans agree that using a mobile device while driving is dangerous yet admit to engaging in this exact type of activity while behind the wheel. This includes video chatting, checking work emails, and responding to texts. 

Distracted driving statistics 2012-2018

If a driver isn’t giving their full attention to the road ahead, traffic signs and signals, and the cars surrounding them, they are driving distracted. This sort of behavior leads to accidents and driving violations, among other repercussions like increased insurance rates. 

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are three types of distracted driving:

Manual distraction:  When a driver takes their hands off the wheel to perform some activity like changing the radio channel, taking a sip of coffee, or handing a toy to a child in the back. 

Visual distraction: When a driver takes their eyes off the road to look at a text, look at an accident on the other side of the highway, or gaze at the scenery, for example.

Cognitive distraction: When a driver loses focus of the road because they are thinking of something else like work issues or what they’re going to make for dinner that night. 

While most of us are guilty of these kinds of distractions while driving, that doesn’t change the fact that a serious accident can happen in just a second. Think about it. How many times have you had a close call traveling at 65 mph on the interstate? Imagine traveling at that speed, and someone swerves into your lane. Still, during that critical instant, you were petting your dog instead of maintaining focus on the road.

According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), 31% of drivers are distracted by their pets in the car. Furthermore, a driver is eight times more likely to get into a crash while reaching for an object and three times more likely to crash when eating or drinking while driving. 58% of crashes that involve teenagers are caused by distracted driving.

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Get answers to commonly asked questions about our legal services and learn how we may assist you with your case.

Cause of Car Accident FAQs

  • Is distracted driving as bad as drunk driving?

    A study performed by the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) determined that texting while driving is more dangerous than driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. They tested 17 young drivers between the ages of 17 and 24 in driving simulation tests. The test subjects showed that their reaction times were lowered by 35% when either reading or sending a text.

    In comparison, test subjects that had consumed alcohol showed their reaction time reduced by 12%, while cannabis users’ reaction time was reduced by 21%. Overall, the study highlights the serious danger of texting while driving.

    Most drivers that do text and drive think that slowing down will make it safer for them to do so. Still, they don’t take into account the fact that when your eyes are off the road, even for a second, you have the potential to drift into other lanes causing injury to others. 

    Another startling study done by TRL revealed that talking on a handheld device while driving reduced reaction time by an astonishing 46%. However, even with these shocking study finds, the fact remains that drunk drivers kill more people per year at an average of 10,000 deaths versus 3,500 deaths for distracted driving.

  • How can we prevent distracted driving?

    Limit cell phone usage to emergencies: While cell phones have become an intricate part of daily life for many, using one behind the wheel should be avoided except in the most serious of situations like calling for emergency services after witnessing a crash. Even using hands-free devices takes your focus off the road.

    If you’re tired, pull off the road:  Driving while drowsy increases your risk of getting into a car accident by nearly four times. A survey by the NHTSA showed that 37% of the driving population admitted to nodding off or falling asleep during their driving lifetime. Drowsy drivers should pull off the road or risk getting into an accident and injuring others.

    Limit the number of passengers: More people in the car with you increases the chances you’ll be distracted by them. That’s why in most states, new teenage drivers are prohibited from having other teens in the car with them in the first months of driving. Young and inexperienced drivers can quickly lose focus on the road when their friends are making them laugh or showing them the latest Tik Tok.

    Avoid eating behind the wheel: We’ve all done it. Usually, it’s because you’re in a hurry, and that makes matters even worse. One of the biggest causes of distraction is food spillage, like a french fry falling between the seats and you’re trying to dig it out. It’s just not worth it.

    Get organized before getting on the road: Set your GPS, adjust your seats, check your mirrors, choose a temperature, and pick a station or song list before taking your vehicle on the road. 

    Finish grooming at home: We’ve all seen it, someone applying mascara or lipstick using their rearview mirror like they’re at a beauty salon. Do it at home or when you’ve reached your destination, not on the roadways.

  • Can you sue someone for distracted driving?

    If it can be proven that someone injured you or a loved one while driving distracted, the law gives you options. While the criminal penalties can be light, the amount you could be awarded through a settlement or jury verdict is not. In fact, you have an increased chance of winning your case because distracted driving is negligent driving. 

    Proving someone was distracted because they were eating can be more complicated than proving someone was distracted by their phone. That’s because phone records have time stamps. Furthermore, social media activity and emails leave an electronic record that can be subpoenaed and the activity examined by an expert. 

    Witness testimony can provide strong evidence as well. You may have passengers, or the other driver may have passengers that can attest to negligent behavior as well as passersby or people in other vehicles that may have witnessed the accident.

    Both our lawyers and police officers are skilled at proving distracted driving. So, it’s critical to not only call the police after an accident but get in touch with our legal team as soon as possible so we can investigate and preserve evidence. 

  • What kind of compensation can I get for a distracted driving accident?

    Once we’ve established negligence, you can expect to get paid for your injuries and other costs you’ve incurred because of the accident, which can include:

    Medical costs:  The negligent driver can be held liable for all of your medical bills in states that have “at-fault” driver laws. This means they will be responsible for the cost of an ambulance, emergency room services, hospital stays, treatments, medications, and any ongoing physical therapy or rehabilitation required. In a “no-fault” state, each driver pays for their injuries through their Personal Insurance Protection (PIP). However, if your bills exceed your policy amount, you could file a lawsuit for the remainder.

    Lost income: If you’ve been the victim of a car accident, you may have needed to take time off from work to recover. Your lost wages can be recovered, including any loss of accrued sick time or vacation and any bonus pay or employment benefits you may have missed out on.

    Property damage: Damage to your vehicle and property can be recovered, including any bodywork, paint job, and repair work. If the insurance company decides your vehicle is totaled, you should be eligible for a fair market price reimbursement. If personal items were destroyed like a laptop, this should also be recompensable. 

    Pain and suffering: Pain and suffering are real and deserve a dollar amount. In some instances, you may be awarded punitive damages for pain and suffering.

    Out-of-pocket expenses: Any additional expenses you incurred from an accident may be recovered like car rental costs, co-pays for insurance, and medical devices that you need like a walker or removable cast.

  • Why hire Morgan & Morgan for my personal injury case?

    If you’ve been reviewing what is the number 1 cause of car accidents, you’re probably ready to get legal help. Perhaps you’re having trouble with the insurance companies. When it comes to fighting insurance companies, Morgan & Morgan attorneys are among the best and brightest. We’ve been handling personal injury cases for over 30 years and have recovered billions for our clients during that time.

    When you go with Morgan & Morgan, you’re not just another client. We believe firmly in treating our clients just as we would our own family. In fact, despite being one of the largest law firms in the country, we’re still a family-owned company. 

    Our lawyers are trial-ready, and we never settle for less than what we think a case is worth. Don’t let the insurance companies intimidate you into settling for less than you deserve. With us on your side, we can make sure of it. Contact us today for a free case evaluation, and we don’t collect a dime from you unless we win your case. 

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