What is the Main Cause of Car Accidents that Lead to Death?
The main causes of car accidents that lead to deaths are speeding, reckless driving, drunken driving, and distractions such as cell phones behind the wheel. However, there are numerous other causes of fatal car accidents.
Our Virginia Beach car accident attorneys are habitually one of the first points of contact for people who have lost a loved one in a wreck in Hampton Roads or elsewhere. It’s always heartbreaking to talk to those who have lost a family member due to the actions of another motorist. Those who are left behind may want justice and to hold the culpable driver to account by filing a wrongful death action.
Main Causes of Car Deaths Since the Pandemic
Sadly, the main causes of car accidents that lead to death are not going away any time soon. The roads of Virginia and elsewhere have become more deadly since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and that trend appears to be continuing into 2022.
According to Virginia Traffic Crash Facts, the annual report by the Department of Motor Vehicles and the Virginia Highway Safety Office, excess speed was a factor in the deaths of 445 people in 2021, a 9.6% increase over 2020. Speed was the main cause of car accidents that led to death in Virginia last year, accounting for almost half of the 968 fatalities.
The Traffic Crash Facts report found alcohol was a factor in 237 fatal wrecks, while 334 drivers and passengers who lost their lives were unrestrained. The report reveals 125 pedestrians died – a rise of almost 10% over 2020, while distracted driving caused 117 fatal crashes.
The Impact of Seat Belt Use
These statistics should not be taken in isolation; drunk drivers or those impaired by drugs often drive too fast and are probably less likely to wear seat belts. While not wearing a seat belt does not cause car wrecks, it exacerbates the chances of the victim suffering life-threatening injuries after an impact. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), seat belt use saved about 14,955 lives of people who were involved in accidents in 2017.
Other Causes of Fatal Traffic Accidents
Although speeding, alcohol use, distracted driving, drowsy driving, and reckless driving are among the main causes of car accidents that lead to deaths, there are less obvious causes.
In November, the driver of a septic tanker suffered a horrendous death in Richmond when another truck on I-95 shed I-beams when it struck a bridge. The truck was over-height, according to investigators. The I-beams hit an overpass at a high speed before hitting the septic tanker, causing a deadly exposition.
While the dangers posed by a driver traveling at 100 mph on the freeway are fairly obvious, many motorists don’t realize the high number of deaths and injuries caused by falling objects or improperly loaded trucks. Factors such as slippery roads after rain can also lead to fatal wrecks.
Road Death Trends
Overall, deaths in Virginia and elsewhere appear to be trending in the wrong direction. NHTSA figures found almost 300 motorists and pedestrians died in the first quarter of 2022 in Virginia, a 72% increase over the same period in 2021. It was one of the highest increases in the nation and a major cause for concern.
The attorneys at Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers represent many families in wrongful death cases every year. Often the actions of speeding, reckless, negligent, distracted or sleepy drivers caused deaths on the highways. In some cases, the victim was a passenger, a cyclist, or a pedestrian. We calculate the effect of a death on family members and hold the at-fault driver to account. Please call our experienced team for a free consultation.