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What Percent of Collisions Is Caused by a Driver Error?

Published on Dec 9, 2021 at 3:24 pm in Car Accidents.

Phone GPS on car dash

Car accidents are caused by all kinds of situations. After you’ve been in a crash, some of your first thoughts are likely wondering if you’re hurt, what kinds of damages you sustained, and what you need to do next. Another one of your thoughts is probably wondering what caused this to happen.

There are many different factors that could have led to your auto wreck. In most situations, though, it was probably caused by driver error. Let’s take a look at what that means and what percent of collisions is caused by a driver error.

What Is Driver Error?

As humans, we make mistakes. However, we are expected to be as careful as possible when we’re doing a task as dangerous as driving. Many people have been desensitized to how dangerous driving really is—we’re operating a large, heavy machine at high speeds around others doing the same thing. When someone makes the slightest miscalculation when behind the wheel, the results can be deadly, and this is known as driver error.

We know that, but in order to stay calm while driving on a daily basis, we often try to forget the gravity of the consequences when we make a mistake while driving, or when someone else makes a mistake. However, ignoring the problem of driver error doesn’t help prevent it.

In order to prevent driver error as best as possible, we need to be aware of what could happen and what is considered a bad decision behind the wheel. Being vigilant and careful the entire time your car is in drive is of the utmost importance so that you can avoid a car accident.

You still might be wondering what driver error looks like in practice compared to theory. Examples of human error behind the wheel that can cause car crashes are:

  • Texting
  • Talking on the phone
  • Looking at a GPS
  • Adjusting the radio
  • Any other distractions
  • Speeding
  • Intoxication
  • Fatigue
  • Reckless behavior
  • Tailgating
  • Running red lights or stop signs
  • Illegal maneuvers
  • Dangerous passing
  • Not driving according to weather conditions

Now that you know what human error is in regard to driving, you should know how it contributes to car accidents.

How Driver Error Causes Collisions

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 94 percent of all motor vehicle crashes in the United States are caused by driver error, which comes out to a little over 2 million accidents. This means that one of the above situations happened and either directly or indirectly contributed to a collision happening.

As clarified by NHTSA’s article detailing that information, the fact that the collision was caused by driver error doesn’t necessarily mean the driver is explicitly at fault for the crash. Within driver error as a whole, there are more specific classifications, including recognition errors, decision errors, performance errors, and non-performance errors.

When breaking down those categories, the NHSTA details exactly what kinds of errors are included in each, and what percentage they account for driver error collisions. Those statistics are:

  • Recognition Errors 41% — driver inattention, internal distractions, external distractions, and inadequate surveillance
  • Decision Errors 33% — driving too fast for conditions, driving too fast for a curve, false assumption of others’ actions, illegal maneuver, and misjudgment of others’ speed
  • Performance Errors 11% — overcompensation and poor directional control
  • Non-performance Errors 7% — sleep

Knowing these values can help you potentially avoid making the same mistake. While drivers are human and are bound to make an error at some point or another, there is a difference between an error and negligence. When negligence is involved, that is when a lawsuit could be filed.

Let’s take a look at negligence and fault in accidents involving driver error.

Negligence and Fault in Car Accidents Involving Human Error

As mentioned above, driver error causing a car wreck doesn’t always mean that the driver was necessarily at fault. However, when negligence occurs it is usually an instance of driver error. Whether they should have been more attentive, were driving recklessly, or were distracted by a device when they got into an accident, the driver negligently made an error that led to a crash.

When you were the victim of this error, you might be interested in filing a claim against the party who was negligent. A driver’s error could prove their negligence and lead to your lawyer proving they were at fault for what happened. That will be the most crucial reason to hire a car accident lawyer—they’ll work to prove the other party made an error and was negligent.

One of the main ways your car accident attorney will work to prove the other party was at fault for what happened is by collecting evidence. Those pieces of evidence will likely involve proof of the error the driver made behind the wheel. Evidence like traffic camera videos, witness statements, and police reports will show the other driver made an error and caused your wreck.

You can count on a car accident lawyer to help protect your rights when another person’s error caused an accident that harmed you. They’ll work to prove the other party’s fault and determine how driver error factored into what happened.

Buckingham Barrera Vega Law Firm Will Help You

After an accident caused by human error, you’re likely feeling lost and unsure where to go for help. You want to focus on healing physically and emotionally, and might not want to take the time and effort to work toward financial recovery. But our Albuquerque car accident lawyer is here to handle the legal side of things so you don’t have to worry.

At Buckingham Barrera Vega Law Firm, we’re dedicated to representing victims of car crashes and getting them the justice they deserve. You shouldn’t have to choose between healing and compensation. Contact our office today so we can schedule a consultation so we can support you.

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