Top Causes of Car Accidents

Statistics released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicate that at least 40,000 Americans—or one every 12 minutes—die in car accidents every year. This makes auto accidents the leading cause of death for people aged 35 and younger. Being aware of the five most common causes of accidents can be helpful to ensure that you can avoid certain types of poor driving practices and decision-making. These include:

Driving Under the Influence

The NHTSA reports that, in 2011 alone, there were close to 10,000 fatal accidents due to drunk driving. This is one death every 30 minutes.


At least 30 percent of all traffic-related death involves speeding.

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving describes driving while doing other activities, such as eating, using a cell phone, putting on makeup, taking your eyes off the road to reach for something, etc. Many would be surprised to know that approximately 400,000 Americans are injured each year in accidents due to distracted driving. It is crucial to keep your eyes on the road at all times, regardless of how important something else may seem.

Driving Fatigued

Falling asleep at the wheel can lead to many accidents each year, particularly for truck drivers. Even with federal regulations in place requiring commercial drivers to rest after working a certain number of hours, all drivers need to be aware of fatigue and take the proper precautions.

Running Red Lights

Another serious cause of accidents is the act of running red lights. These accidents are more prone to causing serious injury, estimated at approximately 100,000 cases per day. When combined with speeding and/or distracted driving, these accidents can be catastrophic.


Other highlights released by the NHTSA point to some critical pre-crash events, such as:

  • 36 percent of vehicles were turning or crossing at intersections right before the crash;
  • 22 percent ran off the edge of the road;
  • 11 percent failed to stay in the proper lane;
  • 12 percent were stopped; and
  • 9 percent lost control prior to the crash.

Solnick & Associates

The Pennsylvania car accident lawyers at Solnick & Associates represent victims of car accidents across Pennsylvania. If your accident has been caused by negligent or reckless driving, you may be eligible for compensation to cover medical expenses, emotional distress, lost wages, etc. If the other driver breaking a law (such as drunk driving or running a red light) contributed to the accident, your claim for negligence may be easier to prove.

Under the Pennsylvania statute of limitations, you have two years after the date of your accident to file a personal injury lawsuit and any claim for property damage (such as damage to your car). Regardless of this window, it is crucial to speak with an experienced attorney right away so that they can put a proper investigation together regarding the details, the police report, etc. It is also helpful to have an attorney on your side in dealing with insurance companies and coverage for your losses, particularly because insurance companies rarely cover compensation related to pain/suffering and emotional distress.