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Serious Injury

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Latest studies show most car crashes result from human error

Along with other agencies, the National Safety Council, or NSC, performs extensive research on vehicle crashes and the resulting injuries and fatalities.

The latest figures bring a bit of good news in that the 2019 estimate shows a slight reduction in vehicle crash fatalities over the previous year. However, the statistics still show that human error is the overwhelming cause of crashes.

Types of crashes

NSC records indicate that while collisions between vehicles are the most common types of crashes representing fewer than half the fatalities in all 2018 crashes combined, collisions between a vehicle and an object, such as a tree, were next at 27% of fatalities. However, collisions between vehicles also caused almost 79% of all traffic-related injuries reported in 2018. As to the types of crashes, angle collisions were the most common type followed by head-on, rear-end and side-swipe collisions, in that order.

Medically consulted injuries

In terms of 2019 vehicle crash injuries, the NSC estimates that nonfatal medically consulted injuries, meaning those that require consultation with a medical professional, decreased 2% from 2018. Although this is encouraging news, it is sobering to know that human error remains the cause of over 90% of all car crashes. The number of medically consulted injuries reported in 2019 was 4,423,000.

Distraction still an issue

Thorough car crash investigation and preservation of evidence is essential following a car crash in which someone dies or sustains an injury. This kind of research often reveals that distracted driving played a significant role in a car crash. Analysis by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicates a 12% decrease in 2018 vehicle crashes over the previous year caused as the result of distracted driving.

However, studies also show that the number of drivers using cellphones or other electronic devices while behind the wheel increased 1,500% between 2005 and 2018. Cellphone use is only one example of distracted driving, which, along with activities like eating, drinking, applying makeup or reading, can result in serious medically consulted injuries or death, the kind of human error a driver can easily avoid.

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