Top 10 Causes of Car Accidents in the United States

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What are the Top 10 Causes of U.S. Car Crashes?

What are the Top 10 Causes of U.S. Car Crashes?

Mar 2, 2024

Motor vehicle collisions cause devastating injuries to victims every day (with some even leading to tragic fatalities). These traffic collisions can be caused by a number of factors, but a major car accident is usually the result of a driver failing to follow common sense safety guidelines or exercising reasonable care. That said, in a number of cases, the car accident may be caused by poor road design and even vehicle defects.

Dordulian Law Group is a top-rated California personal injury firm with a team of compassionate yet aggressive car accident attorneys serving the greater Los Angeles community. Our firm that specializes in civil lawsuits related to injuries caused by motor vehicle accidents, regardless of the cause, type, or severity. In the sections below, we will discuss some of the more common causes of American car accidents.


Is speeding the leading cause of collisions?
Every year, speeding is the cause of many serious car accidents. In fact, speeding drivers have been responsible for nearly 1/3 of motor vehicle and traffic collisions in the past two decades. In 2020, speeding drivers caused the death of 11,258 people.

Speeding is a danger to everyone on the road for a number of reasons:

  • It increases the risk of losing control of your vehicle.
  • You and other drivers have less time to react.
  • The human body is typically subjected to greater forces in the event of an accident.
  • Serious or catastrophic personal injuries are more likely to occur in high-speed crashes.

The purpose of speed limits is to protect everyone sharing the road – motorists, pedestrians, and even bicyclists. But simply adhering to speed limits doesn’t always mean safe driving – particularly under less-than-ideal conditions. Driving the speed limit can still be dangerous depending on factors like inclement weather, road hazards, and roadway defects. However, it’s important to remember that speeding is always a deliberate and unnecessary choice that puts you and other drivers in danger.


What is the #1 reason for distracted driving?
The number one rule for every driver is to keep their eyes on the road. This commonsense safety principle would prevent many injuries and deaths. Californians – particularly those of us who live in the Los Angeles area – are well aware that this rule is often and routinely ignored. In Los Angeles, distracted driving accidents happen more frequently than in virtually any other major metropolitan area in the United States.

Distracted driving can include both physical and cognitive distractions. Distractions that are most common while driving include:

  • Use of cell phones while behind the wheel (including texting and making calls without a handsfree device)
  • Audio or navigation system usage
  • Interacting with passengers
  • Eating
  • Daydreaming
  • Applying makeup in the mirror

In the U.S. each year, about 3,000 people die in accidents involving distracted drivers. In 2019, distracted drivers killed over 3,100 pedestrians and injured approximately 424,000 others.

You are putting yourself at risk for a serious accident by taking your eyes off of the road. Moreover, exercising negligence through distracted driving equals a deliberate disregard for other people’s safety.


We’ve all experienced the frustration of a driver who follows too closely. But it’s not usually just a matter of inconvenience, but rather can often lead to serious accidents.

Many violent rear-end accidents can be caused by tailgating. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 23% of motor vehicle accidents are rear-end crashes. This leads to 2,000 fatalities and 950,000 injuries each year.

Consider driver perception/reaction times, which studies indicate can have a dramatic effect on whether or not a car accident occurs. It takes about 1.5 seconds for an alert driver to react and perceive an emergency. At 60 MPH, your vehicle will travel approximately 90 feet before it is possible to respond to an emergency. If you take into account braking distance, 60 MPH requires a minimum of 240 foot to stop. As a result, accidents are essentially inevitable if a driver does not maintain a safe distance between their vehicle and yours.


The right of way is a fundamental element of safe driving (and a rule taught to all drivers in American Driver’s Education courses). It is often considered the framework of our highway and road systems.

To ensure traffic safety, all drivers must follow a set “right of the way” rules. Unfortunately, drivers often ignore these safety basics, believing they are in control of the road. This can lead to permanent injuries or deaths. In fact, 4% of traffic accidents and intersections are caused by failure to yield the right of way.

Examples of common failure to yield the right-of-way car accident scenarios include:

  • Failure to obey stop or yield signs
  • Failure to yield to pedestrians and bicyclists
  • Running stop lights
  • Turning or U-turning illegally or in an improper manner
  • Returning from a parking area to the road
  • Forward movement of your vehicle when it’s not safe to turn

The drivers who ignore the rules and fail to follow the right-of-way put others at risk for unnecessary injury or death.


Blind spots are considered any areas where the driver’s vision is blocked while operating a vehicle. The blind spot in most passenger cars is over the left or right shoulder of the driver. These accidents usually occur when merging or changing lanes.

Blind spots are something that we learn to adapt to as drivers – knowing how to look for them when traveling. New crash-avoidance technology, such as Blind Spot Detection Systems, aims to eliminate blind spots and alert drivers when someone, something, or a vehicle is in one.

Accidents can happen when drivers do not check their blind spots or are distracted and ignore alerts.


Although we’ve already cited distracted driving as a common reason why car accidents occur – and texting while driving falls under this category – we’re including texting and driving in its own spot because it is perhaps the deadliest cause of auto accidents in the U.S. every year. Texting while driving includes sending texts, as well as surfing the internet, checking social media networks, or generally operating mobile/handheld devices.

State laws are increasingly stricter on drivers who text, but there is currently no federal ban on texting while driving.

In a recent study that included 2,600 Americans between the ages of 18 and 78 who drive regularly, nearly two thirds agreed with this statement:

I know I shouldn’t be using my phone while I am driving, but I still do it.

Studies confirm the following statistics on texting while driving – all of which are alarming for roadway safety:

  • Normally, it takes only five seconds to send or read a text, but at 55 MPH that’s the same as driving a football field length with your eyes shut.
  • Driving while intoxicated is six times as dangerous as texting while driving.
  • The use of a cell phone while driving reduces brain activity by 37%.
  • The driver’s ability to react to traffic or control the vehicle is reduced when they are texting.
  • This combination of texting and being unable to react while behind the wheel is deadly at high speeds.

It can sometimes be a case of “he said/she said” when it comes to determining whether a driver is at fault for texting or using a phone. Our Glendale, California, car wreck lawyers could help you if a driver injured you and was distracted by their cell phone. We will work tirelessly to preserve the phone’s data and try to prove that it was being used at the time of your motor vehicle collision. Our investigators and case managers can download the data from the other driver’s phone and create a report to show what they were doing when the accident occurred.


Drunk driving or being intoxicated while driving is the leading cause of fatal automobile accidents. Alcohol affects the brain’s functions, such as thinking, decision making, and coordination. Driving while drunk is extremely dangerous.

It can impair the driver’s reaction time to traffic and other people in the vicinity of their vehicle. It can lead to violent accidents because the drunken driver doesn’t take any steps to prevent or reduce the impact of the accident.

Driving while drunk is a clear and conscious disregard for other road users’ safety. There is no excuse to drive drunk in this age of Uber and taxis.

Driving while impaired is illegal under California law – whether it’s by alcohol or another substance such as marijuana/cannabis. Our car accident attorney investigation often begins with drunk/impaired drivers – many of whom can be habitual offenders. We will investigate things such as whether it was the first time the driver had been intoxicated, who supplied the alcohol to the driver (to determine third-party or dram shop liability), and the activities of the driver during the weeks and month prior to the accident.

Each day, nearly 30 people are killed in drunk driving crashes. That’s one every 50 minutes. And every two minutes , someone is injured. These deaths cause devastation among families. Children are deprived of their parents. It robs parents of their own children. We will do everything we can to ensure that your loved ones, whether they are injured or dead, don’t become just another statistic.


Some drivers are extremely tired or drowsy when they get behind the wheel. It usually occurs when drivers have not slept well, but it can also be caused by untreated sleep disorders or alcohol, as well as long shift work.

Under such conditions, a driver is less able to focus on the road and make decisions. Drowsy driving can be similar, if it is not identical to drunk driving. In some states, driving while tired is a crime.

Drowsy driving collisions can happen anywhere and at any time, but most commonly these types of car wrecks occur:

  • From midnight to 6 AM
  • In vehicles operated by single drivers only (no passengers)
  • On rural or dimly lit roads and highways

Drowsy drivers can make mistakes like driving off the road or driving in the wrong direction on the highway. They may also rear-end vehicles in front of theirs (often while driving at highway speeds) or blow through an intersection while failing to yield traffic signals. All of these situations can result in a violent collision, which may cause severe injuries or even death.

The United States has a serious problem with drowsy driving. Shockingly, s recent study found that one in every 25 adults (18 and older) reported falling asleep while driving within the last 30 days. Federal motor vehicle safety regulations are in place for commercial drivers to prevent them from driving while drowsy. These regulations include limits on how long and how often they can be on their vehicles.


When a driver deliberately disregards safety or courtesy, it is called aggressive driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s technical definition, aggressive driving is “committing a combination of moving violations so as to endanger others or their property.”

Law enforcement agencies have the final say on whether or not a driver is violating this statute.

Aggressive or reckless driving can take many forms:

  • Speeding
  • Changing lanes without a signal
  • Double yellow lines
  • Tailgating
  • Weaving through traffic
  • Driving cars off the road
  • Failure to obey traffic signals or yield right of way

A significant portion of car accidents are caused by aggressive driving. According to some studies, aggressive drivers are responsible for two-to-four times as many deaths as drunk drivers. In many cases, violations of road rules can be considered negligence and justify punitive damages via civil claims with Dordulian Law Group’s expert lawyers. If you’ve been injured in a car crash, contact our proven California personal injury attorneys today at 866-GO-SEE-SAM for a free and confidential consultation.


Not all accidents are a direct fault of a driver’s operator error. Some serious collisions are caused by choices made by drivers before they ever get on the road, such as failing to maintain or service their vehicles.

To reduce the risk of an accident, drivers are expected to maintain their vehicles with reasonable care. This includes checking the tires for wear, making sure the brakes on the vehicle work, paying attention to warning lights on dashboards, and taking the vehicle to qualified mechanics regularly for maintenance. To prevent accidents, any vehicle defects should be corrected as soon as possible.

If maintenance records show that recent work has been completed, it is possible for more than one party to be at fault in cases of vehicle defects or poor maintenance. The last mechanic who handled the defective part or the service company may also be at fault.



The car accident lawyers at Dordaulian Law Group serve injured victims in Glendale, Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, Van Nuys, Riverside, Burbank, Pasadena, and throughout California. Our dedicated personal injury attorneys can help you if you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, pedestrian collision, car wreck/crash, etc.

Dordulian Law Group’s (DLG) auto accident lawyers are here to help you if you have been involved in traffic collision through no fault of your own. We are here to help you get justice and maximum financial damages awarded for your injury.

10 Common Mistakes to Avoid After a Car Accident

Our expert consultants will inspect the scene of the accident and the vehicles involved as well as preserve evidence to help prove your case. We take care of all the details so you can concentrate on what’s most important – your recovery and health.

Schedule an appointment online for a free consultation today, or call us directly to speak to our top-rated, expert car accident attorneys.

DLG’s Glendale-based car crash lawyers will file an aggressive lawsuit seeking maximum financial compensation. We’ll also prepare to take your case to a jury trial if necessary. At DLG, we are committed to fighting for your rights and helping you win your case.

Contact us today for a case evaluation by calling 866-GO-SEE-SAM.

Spanish version: Accidentes Los 10 Automovilísticos Más Comunes

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