Traffic collisions are almost always caused by human error. Sometimes they are linked to careless mistakes drivers make behind the wheel. Other times, crashes are caused by outright reckless and grossly negligent behavior.
Nearly 40,000 people were killed in car accidents across the United States in 2018, according to the National Safety Council. The Delaware car accident attorneys at the Law Office of Edward C. Gill, P.A. discuss the four leading causes of serious and fatal crashes.
Distracted driving can involve any activity that causes manual, visual or cognitive distraction. Even an action like taking a sip of coffee can cause drivers to briefly take their eyes off the road and hands off the wheel.
Many distracted driving crashes are linked to cellphone use. This includes texting and driving, making phone calls, or using cellphone cameras, social media and other apps. All of this is illegal in Delaware and is enforced as a primary law.
When drivers use cellphones or engage in other distractions while driving, they often don't have enough time to react to avoid an impending crash. Sometimes, distracted driving crashes happen at full speed when drivers make no attempt to stop. According to the NHTSA, distracted driving caused 2,841 traffic fatalities and about 400,000 injuries across the United States in 2018.
Speeding, aggressive driving and recklessness
When drivers are in a hurry or stressed out due to traffic and other inconveniences, they often drive aggressively or at dangerous speeds. Some drivers may weave through traffic, run through red lights and stop signs, and pull other illegal traffic maneuvers to try to get ahead.
In 2018, 9,378 traffic fatalities nationwide and 33 in Delaware were caused by speeding.
According to the NHTSA, drunk driving killed 10,511 nationwide and 28 in Delaware in 2018. That accounts for 30 deaths per day and one every 50 minutes.
Alcohol and many recreational and prescription drugs can cause drivers to experience:
- Delayed reaction time
- Impaired judgment
- Loss of physical, visual and cognitive functioning
- Loss of control
- Poor steering control
- The risk of blacking out while driving
Drowsy driving resulted in about 91,000 crashes and nearly 800 traffic fatalities in 2017 and it often occurs when drivers don't get the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Other common factors can include:
- Working night shifts or rotating shifts
- Having an undiagnosed and untreated sleep disorder
- Driving on long distance trips
- Driving for a commercial trucking company
- Being between the ages of 18-25
- Driving during the late night or early morning hours
Drowsy driving can be dangerous for two reasons:
- Microsleep: This occurs when drivers doze off for only a few seconds. Many crashes linked to microsleep happen at full speed when drivers make no attempt to stop.
- Impaired driving: Drowsiness can cause impairments just like alcohol and drugs. For example, drowsy drivers may experience delays in reaction time, poor judgment, loss of memory, and inability to stay within the lines in the road.
Contact a Delaware attorney if you were hurt in a crash
The Delaware car accident attorneys the Law Office of Edward C. Gill, P.A. are experienced at handling crashes and fighting to hold reckless drivers accountable. If you were hurt in a crash, our legal team can help you recover all damages owed to you. This includes both economic and non-economic damages.
To schedule your free legal consultation, contact us online.