Causes of Car Accidents in NC

The North Carolina Department of Transportation recently released its summary of motor vehicle crash statistics from 2010. In North Carolina during 2010, there were 213,553 crashes; 109,331 involved injury and 1,323 were fatal. The summary breaks out car crash statistics on a number of variables, including the “contributing circumstances*.” Here are the primary causes of auto accidents in 2010 where a contributing circumstance is listed:

#1: Failure to Reduce Speed: The report shows that a failure to reduce speed was listed as a contributing cause in 51,624 crashes, or 24.2% of all crashes.

#2: Inattention: Inattentive driving contributed to 47,066 accidents, or 22% of all crashes. Inattentive driving includes things like texting while driving, eating or drinking, shaving or putting on makeup, or any other activity that takes the driver’s attention from the road.

#3: Failure to Yield Right of Way: This category includes any action where another driver had the right of way, including disregarding a yield sign or turning into a lane in front of another car. Failure to yield the right of way was listed as a cause in 33,124 crashes (15.5%).

The three causes listed above were for all crashes. The picture changes when we isolate fatal crashes. Here are the top three contributing circumstances in fatal crashes (where a circumstance is noted):

#1: Alcohol Use: The largest percentage of fatal accidents in 2010 involved alcohol use (259 of 1,323, or 19.6%). There is a very good reason why many of the law enforcement campaigns focus on drunk driving.

#2: Crossing the Center Line/Going the Wrong Way: These crashes are typically head-on collisions; 257 fatal crashes (19.4%) occurred due to a driver crossing the center line or going the wrong way.

#3: Operated Vehicle in Erratic, Reckless, Careless, Negligent or Aggressive Manner: This category covers a number of different situations, and resulted in 248 fatal crashes (18.7%) in 2010.

Reviewing this crash data for North Carolina offers us a sobering reminder why it is so important to pay attention and obey the law while driving. Please consider these facts each time you get behind the wheel of your car. If you have been injured in a car accident due to the negligence of another, contact Merritt Webb today to speak with a North Carolina auto accident attorney.


*Note that more than one contributing circumstance may be referenced in a given crash. As an example, one crash may be included under both alcohol use and crossing the center line.

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