In the United States fatalities in motor vehicle accidents have fortunately been on the decline. However, the incidence of fatalities on the road is still disturbingly high. Roadways in America have become more complex with more lanes, construction, and the constant upgrade of road conditions. The inclusion of buses, trucks, bicycles, and motorcycles on the road can increase the complexity of a driving situation at a time when motorists are being more distracted behind the wheel by eating, conversations, cell phones, and other car technology.

What causes fatalities in motor vehicle accidents?

There are numerous factors that cause motor vehicle fatalities. One important factor to note is the human factor. Such fatalities can be greatly reduced if the drivers operating their vehicles would reduce unsafe behaviors like driving while impaired, driving while distracted, using a seatbelt, having more experience, and driving less aggressively.

Driving while impaired includes driving under the influence of alcohol, illegal drugs, herbs, or medication. States have been testing various methods for detecting alcohol use in drivers and technology is enabling them to prevent alcohol impaired drivers from starting their cars.

Distraction is an increasing problem with drivers and a major cause of fatal auto accidents. As motor vehicles become more technologically advanced, the risk of the cognitive, visual, and manual distraction poses a greater risk for fatalities on the road. For more information please see our article on Distracted Driving and Technology. Technology, however, is not the only source of distraction. Talking to other passengers, eating, and spacing out while driving can be just as deadly. The driver must make a choice not to multitask and pay attention to the road.

Seatbelt use (the lack of it) and child seat use are also responsible for fatalities in motor vehicle accidents. Many newer cars are now equipped with incessant bells and sounds that indicate whether a driver or front passenger is wearing their seatbelt. In many instances, these alerts will not subside until the seat belt is used. Child car seats are another issue because many parents install the seats incorrectly increasing the risk of a fatality in an auto accident. The most common errors were a loose harness, incorrect recline angles, and improper attachment. Knowledge and awareness of these issues with child seats is the key to reducing this problem.

Driving in a less aggressive manner is the final major cause of auto fatalities. Going too fast makes it difficult for a driver to react to the constantly changing landscape of the road. Slow down, control your Road Rage (see our article on that), and take steps to pay attention to your surroundings.

This article is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice. Your case may be different. Consult an attorney in your area for further guidance. If a loved one has been involved in a fatal auto accident, please call one of our attorneys at David K. Kremin & Associates, and we will give you a free consultation. We never charge unless we collect for you. Please call 1(800) ASK-A-LAWYER or 1(800)275-2529.