Most car crashes are avoidable. Negligence is the reason for most injuries and fatalities suffered in California. Thousands of people are killed and hundreds of thousands are injured by distracted drivers every year. Texting and driving are huge distractions in California. However, many other distractions can be equally dangerous. Some common examples include but are not limited to:
- Drinking coffee
- Talking on the phone
- Turning to talk to children or backseat passengers
- Using GPS navigation
- Playing games on a mobile device
- Lighting a cigarette
- Watching videos
- Putting on make-up
- Taking off a jacket
- Searching for something in a purse or a dropped object
Most drivers engage in one or more of these behaviors. All these actions divert attention from the road for a few moments. However, an automobile travels a significant distance in just a few seconds. The briefest inattention can be dangerous.
A significant percentage of Americans are chronically sleep-deprived. If it is from work, children, or another issue, sleep-deprived drivers are operating at a degree of impairment. You may be surprised to learn just how dangerous that impairment is.
Los Angeles County residents have incredibly busy schedules with little sleep. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that a driver who has slept fewer four hours or fewer is 11 times as likely to crash. A driver who has slept less than seven hours is much more of a risk than the standard driver.
Driving Under the Influence
Driving under the influence is an illegal offense. Yet, there are tens of thousands of DUI arrests in Los Angeles each year. These statistics do not include all the impaired drivers who are not arrested. Statistics show impaired drivers will drive 80 times under the influence before their first arrest.
Studies state that 29 percent of California traffic fatalities involve a driver whose blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was at or above the legal limit of 0.08 percent. According to the NHTSA, an impaired driver has issues with concentration, speed control, processing capability, and perception.
Alongside this, driving under the influence includes the use of drugs such as marijuana. Marijuana users are increasing in California. 13 percent use marijuana at night and drive with cannabis in their system. A marijuana user is 25 percent more likely to be involved in a car accident.
More than a quarter of traffic fatalities occur in accidents in which at least one driver was speeding. That is not a surprise, given that 60 percent of drivers were reported to admit speeding in a study. A person speeding may not have the reaction time to brake if an obstacle occurs.
While speed is often a factor in the accident, it is often combined with other risky behavior on the road. For example, 45 percent of speeding drivers who were involved in fatal crashes in 2015 were also under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident.
Other Car Accident Causes
There are many other possible causes of car accidents. Some other common causes include:
- Reckless driving
- Weather-related visual impairment
- Icy or wet roads and bridges
- Unsafe lane changes
- Improper turns
- Vehicle defects or faulty maintenance
- Loose objects in the road
- Tire blowouts
- Medical conditions
Most of these causes involve factors beyond the driver’s control. However, weather conditions, debris in the road, and road maintenance negligence may still play a role. For example, a driver in a rainstorm may be driving too fast for conditions, even if he or she is not exceeding the speed limit.