As a phoenix car accident lawyer, there are countless ways that accidents occur. Unfortunately, for many causes, the main factor is always driver behavior. Let's take a look below at some of the other causes as well.
Four factors contribute to the vast majority of collisions. In ascending order they are:
- Equipment Failure
- Roadway Design
- Poor Roadway Maintenance
- Driver Behavior
Over 95% of motor vehicle accidents (MVAs, in the USA) involve some degree of driver behavior combined with one of the other three factors. Drivers always try to blame road conditions, equipment failure, or other drivers for those accidents. When the facts are truthfully presented, however, the behavior of the implicated driver is usually the primary cause. Most are caused by excessive speed or aggressive driver behavior.
Equipment Failure - Manufacturers are required by law to design and engineer cars that meet a minimum safety standard. Computers, combined with companies' extensive research and development, have produced safe vehicles that are easy and safe to drive. The most cited types of equipment failure are loss of brakes, tire blowouts or tread separation, and steering/suspension failure. With the exception of the recent rash of Firestone light-truck tire failures, combined totals for all reported equipment failure accounts for less than 5% of all motor vehicle accidents.
Roadway Design - Motorists may blame roadway design for accidents, but it's rarely the cause. Consultants such as the Texas Transportation Institute have spent years getting road barriers, utility poles, railroad crossings, and guardrails to their current high level of safety. Civil engineers, local governments, and law enforcement agencies all contribute to the design of safe road layouts and traffic management systems. State and federal governments provide guidelines to their construction, with design flexibility to suit local conditions.
Poor Maintenance - Roadway maintenance contributes to some motor vehicle accidents, but not to the extent that drivers use it as an excuse. Unfortunately maintenance schedules and procedures vary greatly from city to city and state to state, so nationwide standards don't exist.
Driver Behavior - Humans tend to blame somebody or something else when a mistake or accident occurs. A recent European study concluded that 80% of drivers involved in motor vehicle accidents believed that the other party could have done something to prevent the accident. A miniscule 5% admitted that they were the only one at fault. Surveys consistently reveal that the majority consider themselves more skillful and safer than the average driver. Some mistakes occur when a driver becomes distracted, perhaps by a cell phone call or a spilled cup of coffee. Very few accidents result from an 'Act of God,' like a tree falling on a vehicle.
Aggressive Drivers - As we've described, modern cars are manufactured to very safe standards, and the environment they're driven in is engineered to minimize the injuries suffered during an accident. The most difficult area to change is aggressive driver behavior and selfish attitudes. A study by the Automobile Association in Great Britain found that 88% of the respondents reported at least one of the behaviors listed below directed at them (in order of descending frequency):
- Aggressive tailgating
- Lights flashed at them because the other motorist was annoyed
- Aggressive or rude gestures
- Deliberate obstruction -- preventing them from moving their vehicle
- Verbal abuse
- Physical assault
The same group was then asked about aggressive behavior they had displayed towards other drivers. 40% indicated that they had never behaved aggressively towards another driver. A further 60% of the survey respondents admitted to one or more of the following behaviors (listed in order of descending frequency):
- Flashed lights at another motorist because they were annoyed with them
- Gave aggressive or rude gestures
- Gave verbal abuse
- Aggressively tailgated another motorist
- Deliberately obstructed or prevented another from moving their vehicle
- Physically assaulted another motorist (one positive response)
These behaviors are probably under-reported, since most people are not willing to admit to the more serious actions, even if no penalty exists. The majority of these incidents happened during the daylight hours (70%), on a main road (not freeway or divided highway).
Always stay focused while you are driving. Many get distracted over the littlest of things when it comes to driving. Simply put, we take it for granted. We know it can be unsafe to drive while distracted, yet we've driven for so long, that we hardly think of the dangers of driving until it's too late. Be safe everyone.