As of 2014, it was estimated that there were about 200 million licensed drivers in the U.S. — and countless unlicensed drivers as well — and the U.S. Census Bureau has estimated that there are about 11 million car accidents in any given year. So what actually causes all of these car accidents? Here are a few of the most common causes and traffic violations that are connected to vehicle accidents:
- Vehicle malfunction: It’s fairly common for parts to break down or malfunction in vehicles, and when these parts are absolutely essential for safety — like brakes or turning signals — it’s easy to get involved in an accident. Sometimes the driver is at fault for a broken part, like a dead turning signal light, but sometimes the vehicle manufacturer is at fault if multiple vehicles were produced with faulty pieces.
- Weather: Inclement weather often causes bad car accidents — even when every driver was exhibiting care — and it’s also common for drivers to face misdemeanor traffic violations, like stop sign/ red light violations or speeding tickets, because the weather impaired their vision.
- Drugs and alcohol: It probably goes without saying that many accidents are caused by impaired drivers, and for this reason, traffic violations regarding drug and alcohol consumption tend to be very serious. While some substance-related violations can be considered misdemeanor traffic offenses, especially for first-time offenders, the penalties and fines are still often very high.
- Driver distractions: Cellphone usage is probably one of the most common types of driver distractions today, and most states have laws prohibiting drivers from talking on a cellphone, texting, or both. It’s estimated that about 25% of all car accidents are caused by distracted drivers using cellphones, because taking your eyes off the road for just a few seconds can cause a lot of damage.