Boca Raton Causes of Car Accidents

Causes of Car Accidents in Boca Raton

According to a report from the state Department of Highway and Motor Vehicles, in 2017, there were 482,385 motor vehicle crashes throughout Florida, resulting in more than 254,000 injuries. Motor vehicle crashes happen in a number of ways, for a number of reasons. Here is a look at some of those reasons.

Distracted Driving and Car Accidents

Distracted driving is any activity that diverts the driver’s attention away from the act of driving. There are three types of driver distractions:

  • Manual distractions – those that require a driver to remove his or her hands from the wheel
  • Visual distractions – that cause a driver to look away from the road
  • Cognitive distractions – those which result in the driver’s mind wandering away from the task of driving.

Some of the potential distractions that a driver encounters are particularly dangerous, as they involve more than one type of distraction. For example, the reason texting while driving is reported to be such a dangerous task is that it generally involves all three types of driver distractions, causing drivers to take their hands from the wheel, look away from the road, and focus their thoughts on something other than driving for several seconds at a time. It reportedly takes five seconds to read or respond to a text while driving. If a driver is traveling at 55 mph, he or she would have traveled the length of a football field during that time.

Here is a look at some other driver distractions that increase the risk of accidents, as noted in a 2017 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report:

  • External distractions include objects and events outside of the vehicle, such as crash scenes, billboards, pedestrians, other motorists, or animals on or near the roadway.
  • Internal distractions, which occur inside the vehicle. Some examples might include the movements or actions of other people in the vehicle, adjusting vehicle controls such as air conditioning or mirrors, or phone controls such as receiving or sending text messages or emails, eating, smoking, or even applying makeup.
  • Visual distractions such as GPS devices or portable entertainment systems.
  • Manual distractions such as eating or drinking in the car or retrieving an object from one’s purse.
  • Cognitive distractions such as personal or work problems, financial problems, daydreaming about upcoming events, or even listening to the radio.
  • Incidental distractions such as manipulating the windshield wiper controls or an animal stepping into the roadway or an insect flying into the window of the vehicle.

Speeding Increases Car Accident Risk

As stated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a crash is classified as a speeding-related crash if any driver involved was charged with the offense of speeding, or was found to have been traveling faster than the posted limit, racing, or driving too fast for the conditions. More than a quarter of all fatal crashes are the result of speeding. Here is more information about this common cause of accidents:

  • Males are more likely than females to be drivers in a speeding-related fatal crash. The younger the male driver, the higher the risk of a speeding-related fatal crash. In 2016, nearly one-third of all male drivers aged 15-20 who were involved in a fatal crash were speeding at the time of the crash.
  • Speeding drivers who are involved in a crash are more likely to have had a history of driving infractions, including prior speeding tickets, DUI offenses, or a license under suspension or revocation. 26 percent of speeding drivers who were in fatal crashes in 2016 did not have a valid driver’s license at the time of the crash.
  • According to 2016 figures, 37 percent of speeding drivers involved in fatal crashes had a blood-alcohol level that was over the legal limit. This is compared to 15 percent of drivers involved in fatal crashes who weren’t speeding at the time of the crash.
  • More serious speeding-related crashes happen at nighttime and on the weekends, compared to daytime and weekdays.
  • Speeding-related fatalities are more prevalent on rural non-interstate roads than on interstate rural, interstate urban, or non-interstate urban.

Drunk or Drugged Driving

The incidence of drinking and driving has decreased in recent years, but it is still a worrisome issue, and for good reason. According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a 2010 study revealed that 112 million adults reported drinking and driving at some point during the year. Here are some other facts about the issue:

  • Out of every five people who drink and drive, four of them are men.
  • Alcohol-impaired drivers, which are those whose blood alcohol content is over 0.08 percent, are involved in about one of three crash deaths.
  • Drinking impairs a number of skills needed for driving, including the ability to control the car and focus on driving, the ability to stay in one’s own lane, the ability to have an adequate response time to roadway dangers, the ability to process information and reason, reduced coordination, loss of judgement, and the ability to do two things at the same time.
  • The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that, in 2016, 11.8 million people in the United States. drove while under the influence of illicit drugs. In Palm Beach County, were Boca Raton is located, drugs and alcohol contributed to 348 accidents, injuring 225 and killing 12.
  • Drinking and driving and drugged driving are more common for young adults, ages 18 to 26, than in adult drivers older than 26.
  • Drivers who are found to have THC—the active ingredient in marijuana—in their blood are twice as likely to be involved in a fatal crash than those who do not.
  • While there are established roadside sobriety tests to check for drunk drivers, a reliable test to check for drugged driving does not yet exist.
  • Many drivers who cause crashes are found to have alcohol and drugs or more than one drug in their system, making it hard to know which substance had a greater effect on the driver’s ability to operate a motor vehicle.

Drowsy and Fatigued Driving Increases Car Accident Risk

Many people do not realize exactly how dangerous driving while drowsy can be. It may seem fairly innocuous to drive while a little tired but fatigue can physically affect your driving abilities and significantly increase the chance of you being involved in a car accident. In more extreme cases, there is even a chance that you may even fall asleep at the wheel. Driving while drowsy or fatigued is actually a major contributor to the number of car accidents that occur each year. This is mostly because people disregard the idea of driving while tired being dangerous. In some ways driving while fatigued is comparable to driving under the influence since they share many similar symptoms. People that drive drowsy have reduced motor skills, poor perception, lowered reflexes, and their judgment is affected as well.

Running Red Lights or Stop Signs

Red light violations occur when a vehicle enters an intersection at any time after the light changes to red. Those who are in the intersection when the light changes, such as drivers who are turning left, are not considered to be running a red light. If a driver is permitted to turn right on red, he or she must bring the vehicle to a full stop before entering the intersection.

In Florida in 2017, nearly 4,000 crashes were caused by drivers running red lights, and almost 3,000 more were caused by drivers running stop signs. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that red light and stop sign running are the most common causes for crashes in urban areas, with 22 percent of all urban crashes being caused by someone failing to stop on red. Here are some more details about the issue:

  • About half of the 800 fatalities caused by drivers running red lights in 2016 were pedestrians, bicyclists, and people in other vehicles who were hit by red light runners.
  • Injuries occur in about 39 percent of accidents in which the driver ran through a traffic control device without stopping.
  • On average, 3.2 drivers run a red light every hour, according to a multi-state study. Heavier traffic generally results in more red light running.
  • 36 percent of the participants in an AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety survey reported that they had run a red light in the past 30 days.
  • Red light runners often have a history of other traffic infractions such as speeding convictions, drunk driving convictions, or prior accidents. Just as with speeding, red light runners are more likely to be young, male, and less likely to have a valid driver’s license.
  • Right turn on red violations are particularly dangerous for pedestrians and bicyclists. Studies show that allowing drivers to turn right at a red light may increase the number of collisions in the intersection by 43-123 percent.
  • A report from Statista noted that, in a study of the fatalities from red light running in major U.S. cities between 2004-2013, Miami ranked sixth worst, with 82 deaths attributed to drivers failing to stop at red lights.

Defective Parts Cause Car Accidents

While many crashes are associated with risky behaviors such as speeding or distracted driving, defective vehicle parts are also a common contributor to accidents. Some of the vehicle parts that may elevate the risk of an accident, or of suffering injuries or death in an accident, if they are not designed and manufactured safely include:

  • Brakes
  • Seatbelts
  • Steering wheels
  • Accelerators that may cause the speed of the car to increase without warning
  • Ignitions
  • Seat latches that cause the driver’s seat to recline unexpectedly
  • Airbags that deploy too easily
  • Faulty wiring that poses a fire hazard
  • Tires

There are three categories of product defects, which include:

  1. Design defects that cause a product to be dangerous, regardless of how it is manufactured or used.
  2. Manufacturing defects, which happen when a product is assembled improperly or is manufactured with substandard materials.
  3. Warning defects, which occur when the manufacturer fails to appropriately warn consumers of risks associated with the product’s use.

Products that are discovered to be unsafe may be subject to a recall. Product recalls can be initiated voluntarily by the manufacturer or by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Recalls are only issued if the defect poses a risk to consumers.

A product defect is at the center of a lawsuit recently filed against the automaker, Tesla, on behalf of the family of a teenage boy who was killed in a crash. As reported in January 2019, by Local 10 News, the 18-year-old was a passenger in a 2014 Tesla S sedan when it crashed in Aventura in May of 2018. The boy and the 18-year-old driver were trapped inside of the vehicle and died when it caught on fire. A backseat passenger survived. The suit alleges that the vehicle’s defective battery pack caused it to burst into flames. Additionally, the suit states that Tesla wrongly removed a limiter that would have prevented the car from driving faster than 85 miles per hour. The National Transportation Safety Board reported that the vehicle was traveling at 116 miles per hour seconds before it crashed.

Car Accidents in Work Zones

The Federal Highway Administration states that accidents in work zones have increased in recent years. In 2015, there were 96,626 crashes in work zones in 2015. Here are some more details about work zone car crashes:

  • In Florida, in 2017, work zone and maintenance equipment were listed as the first harmful event in around 400 crashes. Of those crashes, four included fatalities and dozens more caused injuries.
  • Every 5.4 minutes, there is a traffic crash in a U.S. work zone.
  • More than a quarter of work zone crashes result in injuries.
  • Of the work zone crashes that result in a fatality, there are often additional factors. Some of these factors include lack of seat belt use; speeding; alcohol impairment; time of day (fatal work zone crashes are more prevalent during the daytime); and the day of the week and the time of year (more fatal work zone crashes are recorded mid-week, during the summer).
  • More than 40 percent of work zone crashes involve one vehicle rear-ending another.
  • Tractor-trailers have a higher likelihood of being involved in a crash in a work zone than they do on highways.
  • Nearly half of the worker fatalities that occur due to work zone crashes involve another vehicle running over or backing over the worker.

Were You Injured in a Car Accident in Boca Raton?

Negligent or reckless driving practices are at the heart of many car crashes. Car accidents in Boca Raton can lead to serious injuries and even death. If you were involved in a car accident that was caused by someone else’s negligence or recklessness, you may be eligible to receive compensation through a personal injury lawsuit for damages. Some of the compensation you may be qualified for includes:

  • Property damage to your car
  • Medical bills and prescription costs
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of future earnings
  • Loss of quality of life
  • Pain and suffering

The experienced personal injury attorneys at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA’s office would like to talk to you about the details of your case and to provide answers as to what your legal options are. Whether our clients need us to aggressively negotiate with insurance companies in order to obtain the maximum amount of compensation available to them or to represent them at trial, we are committed to helping accident victims. To schedule a free consultation and case review, contact Sibley Dolman online or by calling (561) 220-4963.

Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
301 Yamato Road, Suite 1240
Boca Raton, Florida 33431
Phone: 561-220-4963
Fax: 305-517-1306

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