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The Most Common Causes of Traffic Fatalities

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If you take a moment and review the most prevalent causes of traffic fatalities, you will be reminded that ACCIDENTS CAN BE PREVENTED! Today's post delivers a serious warning for all of us who venture behind the wheel of our car and join our fellow road warriors on our nation's roads and expressways. The team of automotive experts at I-86 Truck & Auto Repair isn't pointing fingers here, we know that all of us drivers can take safety more seriously.

Distracted Driving

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving claimed 3,477 lives in 2015 alone.

People, in general, need to just learn that it can wait. When combined with other bad behaviors, it is extremely risky. Consider the following true story that highlights multiple factors that contributed to a serious accident:

A sixteen year-old driver who was in a  car accident in 2012 was texting, completely disregarding road laws, and was driving a stick-shift on empty in a vehicle that often stalled at intersections. It was probably distracted driving that led to her being pummeled by a car 2.5 times the size of her car but all the other issues didn't help. By the way, they were both speeding. She was lucky enough to make it through, but all of that pain and suffering could have been avoided if she had just thought, “This can wait.”

Driving Under the Influence

Unfortunately, we need to also mention drunk driving. The good news is that American car owners have made impressive progress in the last four decades.

"In 2015, the rate of alcohol-impaired driving fatalities per 100,000 population was 3.2, representing a 65% decrease since 1982."

But we can, and need, to do even more. Despite this substantial decline in deaths, tipsy drivers are still wreaking havoc on our roads, causing 69% of driving fatalities. Whether you can walk in a straight line or not, if you’ve had more than one glass of alcohol, DO NOT DRIVE. Call an Uber or Lyft. Your pride is not worth someone’s life.


Recklessness: lack of regard for the danger or consequences of one's actions. If you’re upset with the world, or you’re just past the point of caring, either way, DO NOT DRIVE while feeling this way. Get some professional help.

Driver Fatigue

Our next issue is fatigue. There are many individuals who drive when they are sleepy even though they would never think of driving tipsy. They don't seem to realize that sleepy driving can be just as risky. We’ve all driven when our eyelids were heavy. According to a report conducted by the CDC in 2010, 4% of drivers surveyed reported actually falling asleep while driving. Sure, 4% may seem like a small percentage, but the survey respondents didn't answer whether they were sleepy, but if they had actually fallen asleep. There are no doubt many more who have driven while sleepy which is extremely dangerous. If you’re drowsy while driving, pull off to a dark, secluded area and try to take a catnap. The place you’re trying to get to will still be there once you’ve had a power nap. We’re not telling you to try to not drive while drowsy; DO NOT DRIVE while drowsy.


Another major cause of accidents is tailgating. We all hate it, but obviously some of us are guilty because repeatedly it is a factor in accidents. As a common act of courtesy and safety, DO NOT TAILGATE, ever. Eventually, the driver ahead of you will have to brake suddenly for some reason. If you’re tailgating, you’ll almost always damage their car and yours if you don’t have enough room or time to stop. The drivers and passengers in both cars may be harmed. And the police report and your insurance carrier will put you at fault for riding them (no matter how sudden the person in front slammed on his or her brakes) and your insurance rates may go through the roof. You never believe it’ll happen to you—until it does.

Failure to Yield the Right of Way

Failure to yield the right of way is the most prevalent cause of accidents for drivers over 70. Most of these types of accidents occur at intersections.

Teen Drivers

We know that it’s exciting to finally be able to drive at 16, but with that freedom, there also comes a lot of responsibilities. First and foremost is the responsibility to learn and comply with all of the road laws. The aforementioned young lady who was in that near-fatal automobile accident says, “My life would be so different if I would have just followed the laws, like going the speed limit, stopping at stop signs, and wearing a seatbelt.”

From all of us here at I-86 Truck & Auto Repair, "Be careful out there!"