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Top 5 causes of motor vehicle accidents

| Jan 14, 2021 | Personal Injury

Although modern traffic safety technology helped reduce vehicle accidents, the U.S. Department of Transportation reports over 50% of serious crashes occurring at intersections. The DOT also notes that more than 6,200 pedestrians died in traffic crashes in 2018.

Human error or poor judgment typically contribute regardless of where accidents occur. These are some major contenders for the top causes of vehicle crashes.

Failure to stop at a red light

Motorists running lights reflect a major cause of accidents. As noted by the AAA, impatience and recklessness typically cause drivers to plow through an intersection’s red light.


According to CDC estimates, nationwide crashes caused by distracted driving injured 400,000 people in 2018. Almost 3,000 individuals died as a result of a distracted driver that year. The CDC defines a distraction as anything that takes a motorist’s focus away from the road.

Prescription medications

Prescription medications may cause drowsiness and contribute to motorists losing control. As reported by NBC News, a study involving two-car collisions showed it was much more likely that the driver causing the crash had taken a prescription opioid.

Alcohol and substance impairment

Approximately one individual dies every 50 minutes from an accident involving a motorist impaired by alcohol or some form of recreational substance. The CDC notes alcohol alone contributed to about 28% of the fatal car crashes that occurred in 2016.

Inclement weather

According to the U.S. DOT, weather conditions cause more than 1.2 million vehicle accidents each year. Low visibility and slippery roads require motorists to reduce their speed and focus greater attention on the road.

Assigning crash responsibility to a driver may prove a complex issue when inclement weather is a factor in pursuing an accident injury claim. Weather-related vehicle accidents, however, cause injuries to over 400,000 individuals each year.

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