Top Ten Types of Car Accidents in the United States
Warshafsky Law, Madison's best car accident lawyers, has experience with every type of unfortunate car accident that may surprise us.
The Top Ten Types of Car Accidents:
1. Drunk Driving Accidents
2. Distracted Driver Crashes
3. Hit-and-Run Accidents
4. Construction Zone Wrecks
5. Rollover Accidents
6. Rear-End Accidents
7. Uninsured and Underinsured Claims
8. Large-Truck Accidents
9. Angle or Side Impacts
10. Run-Off-Road Collisions
Recent studies suggest Wisconsin has the highest rate of drunk driving in the United States. In 2012, there were 33,000 convictions for DUI offenses. Despite glaring and continual evidence that driving under the influence is a terrible and often fatal idea, motor vehicle operators continue to do so. Governor Scott Walker has recently signed a bill into law requiring any person that injures another person in a Drunk Driving accident to spend a minimum of 30 days in jail.
In 2011, 1/5th of car crashes involved Distracted Driving. There are three main types of Distracted Driving: visual, manual and cognitive distractions. Visual distractions take your eyes off the road. Manual distractions take your hands off the wheel. Cognitive distractions take your mind off the task at hand, i.e. operating your motor vehicle. Examples of distractions include, eating and using a cell phone, primarily texting. Texting while driving is especially dangerous because it combines all three distraction types at once. Texting takes the driver’s attention away more frequently and for longer periods of time. Younger, inexperienced drivers are at increased risk, they have the highest proportion of distraction-related fatal crashes.
Leaving the scene of an auto accident is a criminal offense. Be aware that you are at risk of jail time if you are convicted of leaving the scene involving injury. If a hit-and-run accident happens, you may panic and that can cause you to make a poor decision. These incidents also often involve cases of mistaken identity. If you have been wrongly accused, it won’t go away by itself. Wisconsin law dictates that it is your immediate legal duty to stop following any auto accident, even if the only damage is to property.
In 2014, there were 2,264 work zone crashes that killed 12 people and injured 832 here in Wisconsin according to the Department of Transportation. Measures are being taken to protect the construction workers that are put at risk of being in harm’s way. The Department of Transportation will periodically display messages along highways and social media channels. Wisconsin State Patrol has been deployed in work zones to enforce speed limits and other traffic laws. Pilots from the State Patrol Air Support Unit will also fly aerial enforcement missions over and around work zones.
Rollover crashes are complex car accidents and are particularly violent. More than other types of crashes, rollovers reflect the interaction of the drier, road, vehicle, and environmental factors. Vehicle type can play a significant role, but most often, rollovers are speed and/or alcohol related. 40% of fatal rollover crashes involved excessive speeding, and half of all fatal crashes involved alcohol. Rural roads can also be a contributing factor as they tend to be undivided and without barriers.
Negligence is the term used to describe when someone’s conduct falls below an established standard of care. You are deemed negligent if your actions fall short of what a reasonable person would or would not have done in those circumstances, such as in a rear-end accident. To prove negligence, one must prove that a duty existed. All drivers owe one another a duty to exercise care when operating a motor vehicle. Then you must prove the breach of duty. Breach of duty occurs in:
• Failing to pay attention to the road and hazards
• Failing to stop within a reasonable time
• Failing to drive at a reasonable speed (not just abiding the posted limit but also considering the road conditions)
• Failing to maintain control of the vehicle
• Failing to yield the right of way
• Failing to use the turn signal
• Failing to follow at a safe distance
Most states require vehicle owners to have automobile liability insurance, but many drivers manage to get around the law. Some people buy insurance long enough to register their vehicle and then cancel the policy. In 2009, 14% of driver were uninsured. What happens if you are struck by an uninsured driver? Much depends upon the laws in your state. If you are in a state with a traditional tort (civil wrong) insurance laws, the insurance of whoever was at fault is supposed to pay. If the other driver doesn’t have insurance, chances are he or she also doesn’t have many assets. To save yourself from having to bear the cost of an accident, you can add uninsured motorist coverage to your policy.
Vehicles with a weight greater than 10,000 pounds are classified as large trucks. In 2012, 333,000 large trucks were involved in traffic accidents. 3,921 people were killed and 104,000 others injured. In 2012, large trucks were more likely to be involved in a fatal, multiple-vehicle crash as opposed to a fatal single-vehicle crash than were passenger vehicles. 81% of fatal crashes involving large trucks are multiple-vehicle collisions, compared to 58% for fatal crashes involving passenger vehicles.
Side-impact collisions, also known as T-Bone accidents, are often very serious crashes that cause major injury and in some cases, fatalities. The 2012 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) report shows 5,957 fatalities from such collisions comprising 44.9% of fatal multi-vehicle crashes for that year. Side-impact collision fatalities have risen 20% in the past 20 years, due to higher travel speeds and the increasing number of SUVs on the road. (SUVs are dangerous for smaller vehicles up against them in a crash.) Common injuries include: head trauma, concussions and brain injuries, shattered bones, fractures, whiplash, lacerations, internal organ damage and spinal cord injuries. Most T-Bone crashes can be attributed to general driver negligence and errors. The majority of T-Bone crashes occur at intersections. A distracted driver can run a red light and strike another driver, causing injury or death.
Run-off-Road (ROR) collisions usually involve a single vehicle and contribute to a large portion of fatalities and serious injuries to motor vehicle occupants. A 2011 NHTSA study shows over 95% of single vehicle ROR crashes were driver related. These accidents can be categorized by three main factors: driver inattention, fatigued driving, or the driver being in a hurry. Driver performance-based errors like overcompensation and poor directional control accounted for 27.7% of RORs. Driver-decision errors such as going too fast for a curve or conditions account for 25.4%. Critical non-performance errors such as sleeping behind the wheel or physical impairments like a heart attack make up the remaining percentage. Paying absolute attention is the best prevention for these types of automobile accidents.