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How often is human error the cause of car accidents?

New Orleans has its fair share of car accidents, and they can occur for a variety of different reasons. When an auto accident happens, nobody likes to think that the accident was their fault. But the reality is that car accidents don't just happen for no reason at all. So what does the data show about the causes of car accidents?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, human error is the main cause of the vast majority of auto accidents. In a study involving more than two million crashes, the NHTSA found that, in about 94 percent of them, a misstep by one of the drivers was the "critical reason" for the accident.

The NHTSA divided that 94 percent into four different categories. It attributed about 41 percent of those crashes to a category that it called "recognition errors." This category included situations where a distracted driver was unable to discern and avoid a dangerous situation. Decision errors, which include driving too fast for the road conditions, made up about 33 percent of the accidents involving some type of human error.

The next category, which accounted for about 11 percent of the driver-caused accidents, included events where the driver overcompensated or was unable to control the car. In about seven percent of the crashes, "non-performance" errors, like a sleeping driver, were the cause. The final eight percent went to a miscellaneous category that included various other driver mistakes.

The NHTSA did not go so far as to blame specific drivers for the crashes that it included among the 94 percent of those that involved some kind of human error. However, an experienced attorney could take the evidence and circumstances in a specific case, and show that a particular driver was legally responsible for the crash and any resulting damages to other people.

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, "Critical Reasons for Crashes Investigated in the National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Survey," Accessed on April 27, 2016

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Kambur Law Firm, APLC
4700 Canal Street
New Orleans, LA 70119
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