Ever since the Model T began to be mass produced by the Ford Motor Company in 1908, Americans have had a love affair with cars. Approximately 253 million cars and trucks are on the road in the United States. Unfortunately, according to the National Safety Council, there were 38,300 people killed and 4.4 million injured on U.S. roads in 2015. This was the largest one-year percentage increase in fifty years.
So what are the causes of these accidents? Some can be blamed on weather conditions such as rain, fog, ice, and snow. A few can be attributed to vehicle design defects and vehicle failure such as tire blowouts. A few can be blamed on potholes and deadly curves and animals crossing the road.
More often, the drivers are to blame for the accidents. Street racing, reckless driving, running red lights, running stop signs, unsafe lane changes, wrong way driving, improper turns, driving under the influence of drugs, and drowsy driving are among the top twenty-five causes of automobile accidents. Add to that other behaviors such as tailgating and road rage.
According to drivers.com, drunk driving is the third top cause of car accidents in America. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that over 1.1 million drivers were arrested in 2014 for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics. In 2014, 9,967 people were killed in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes. This accounted for almost one-third (31%) of all traffic-related deaths in the U.S.
According to drivers.com, speeding is the second top cause of car accidents in America. The U.S. Department of Transportation reports that speeding contributes to about one third of all car accidents in America.
What specific behavior of drivers is the worst cause of automobile accidents? According to drivers.com, distracted driving is the number one cause of traffic accidents in the U.S. Distracted driving includes texting, talking on the phone, eating, changing clothes, putting on make-up, even playing Pokeman Go. Distracted driving is any activity that diverts the driver’s attention away from the primary task of driving.
Allstate currently has been running a radio ad featuring Mayhem, an elk who lives in the Busse Woods forest preserve off of Arlington Heights Road. The elk is usually not visible from the road, but this day he has come out of the woods. Mayhem takes credit for an accident involving two drivers. He says that the driver of the front car was “gawking at my antlers.” The second car plowed into the front car. It’s a perfect example of distracted driving.
Go to Car Crash Compilation #44—You Tube to see a video about non-fatal car crashes.
—By Karen Centowski