Every car accident is unique–what caused it, how it occurred, where it happened, and how the vehicle made impact with another vehicle or object. In 2020, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported 38,824 fatalities in the United States. Rhode Island recorded 67 car crash fatalities that same year. Crash data for 2021 is pending, but the NHTSA estimates a 10.5 percent increase in total fatalities from 2020.
Several factors contribute to car accidents, including distracted driving, drunk driving, and texting and driving.
Marasco & Nesselbush has extensive experience helping auto accident victims and the families of those killed in car accidents recover the compensation they deserve following serious car crashes. In sharing the information below, Marasco & Nesselbush hopes to reduce your risk of being in a car accident by making you more aware of the leading causes of car accidents. Distracted Driving
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, over 3,100 people were killed in an accident involving distracted drivers in 2020. This statistic accounted for 8.1percent of all reported car crash fatalities.
In Rhode Island, an estimated 25% of all car accidents can be attributed to distracted driving.
What IS Considered Distracted Driving?
The NHTSA categorizes distracted driving into the following types:
- Manual distracted driving: A task that requires you to remove a hand from the steering wheel to use a device
- Visually distracted driving: A task that takes your eyes off the road to visually obtain information
- Cognitive distracted driving: A task that causes you to lose focus on the task of driving
Examples of tasks that cause distracted driving:
- Texting and driving
- Talking on the phone (even when using a hands-free device)
- Talking with passengers
- Reaching for something in the backseat or on the floor
- Eating or drinking
- Applying makeup
Ultimately, it’s important for drivers to pay attention to the road, keep their hands on the wheel, and stay focused on getting to their destination safely.
Texting and Driving
Texting and driving is one of the most dangerous types of distracted driving. It falls into all three categories. When you text, you have to take your hands off the wheel to type (manual), think about the message (cognitive), and look at the screen (visual).
A study conducted by the Journal of Adolescent Health found that teens are most likely to text and drive–one out of every three teenagers admits to texting and driving. Results showed that 16 percent of 15 and 16-year-old teens admit to texting and driving, while 60 percent of 18 and 19-year-old teens admit to the practice.
The NHTSA states that texting for just five seconds can distract a driver for up to 100 yards, which is the length of a football field, when driving 55 MPH. Texting also affects reaction time; it can impair a driver just as much as someone who drank four beers in one hour before getting behind the wheel. Teens who text tend to have trouble maintaining their lanes and spend about 10 percent of their time driving outside of their dedicated lane of traffic.
According to the NHTSA, driving drowsy or driver fatigue caused 633 deaths in the United States in 2020, which equals 1.6 percent of total fatalities.
Drivers who are overtired, drowsy, or fatigued are more likely to:
- Have difficulty concentrating
- Experience reduced reaction times
- Weave in and out of lanes
- Fall asleep at the wheel
- Lose control of their vehicle
- Become distracted
One study by the American Automobile Association (AAA) found that even moderate fatigue can create a dangerous situation behind the wheel. The research showed that drivers sleeping less than seven hours in the past 24 hours and one or more hours less than normal significantly increased crash risk.
Rollovers occur when two or more of a vehicle’s tires leave the ground, causing the car to flip onto its side or roof or turn over completely. Given the violent nature of these types of car accidents, they’re the deadliest among crash types and also produce the most serious injuries for drivers and passengers. In 2020, the NHTSA reported 7,107 total fatalities in rollover accidents.
The risk factors for a rollover crash include the design of the vehicle, the road conditions, and the driver’s behavior. For example, SUVs, vans, and light trucks are most likely to roll over in an accident due to their higher center of gravity.
The most common types of a rollover accident include:
- Side impact collisions: rollovers can be a secondary event when the vehicle is struck on the side
- Sharp turns (especially at high speeds): vehicles can get thrown off balance and become more difficult to control when a
- driver makes a sharp turn at a high rate of speed
- Tripping: when a tire hits an object in the road, such as a pothole, uneven pavement, or debris
- Excessive tire grip: tires that grip the road surface too tightly can create a sideways force that causes the vehicle to become
- unbalanced and roll
In Rhode Island, drivers have a responsibility to remain at the scene of a car accident if it causes property damage, injury, or death. Parties must exchange insurance information and determine if emergency medical treatment is required.
Leaving the scene is a crime that can carry harsh penalties yet at-fault drivers often flee the scene of an accident to avoid facing responsibility for their actions. There are thousands of hit-and-run car accidents reported across the country every year. NHTSA data reveals hit-and-run accidents increased by 26 percent between 2019 and 2020.
What To Do After a Hit-and-Run Accident
- Stay at the scene. Remember, it’s a crime to leave, and even if the motorist who hit your vehicle leaves the scene, remain until police arrive and tell you you’re free to go.
- Quickly write down your memory of the event. Try to jot down the hit-and-run driver’s license plate or the make and model of their car. Take pictures of the scene and get the names and contact information for witnesses. The more information you can gather, and the more you get on paper right after the wreck, the better your chances of holding the hit-and-run driver accountable.
- Report the accident. Make sure you call 911, report the accident, and explain that a party involved in the crash fled the scene. Offer a description and details if you can. The police can come to the scene and begin to search for the hit-and-run driver.
- Call a lawyer. Getting compensation after any type of car accident can be challenging, and that’s particularly true when the at-fault driver flees the scene. Your attorney can help you pursue all options for financial recovery, including tapping into your own uninsured motorist coverage (UMC) if you have it, submitting claims with other parties’ insurance providers, or filing lawsuits against the hit-and-run driver and/or other liable parties.
Don’t forget to seek medical treatment right away to limit the risk of complications and always ensure your injuries are treated properly.
Drunk driving is a problem nationwide, but particularly in Rhode Island. Every year, Rhode Island reports a higher percentage of alcohol-related driving deaths than the national average. Crash statistics from the NHTSA revealed that 42 percent of the state’s fatal car accident fatalities involved a drunk driver in 2020.
Drunk driving has been compared to other dangerous behaviors behind the wheel, including distraction and driver fatigue. When a driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they tend to suffer from reduced reaction times, may have trouble seeing, and are at a greater risk of losing control of their vehicle or falling asleep at the wheel.
Why You Should Trust Our Rhode Island Car Accident Lawyers For Help
No matter what type of car accident you or a loved one is involved in, it can turn your world upside down. You shouldn’t have to deal with the aftermath of your car accident in Rhode Island on your own. Fortunately, you don’t have to. The Rhode Island car accident lawyers at Marasco & Nesselbush are here to provide the guidance, support, and experience you deserve during this trying time.
For more than two decades, Marasco & Nesselbush has been a leading advocate for crash victims and grieving families in Rhode Island. Our law firm has won over $1 million in settlements and verdicts–so far.
We represent clients across the state, with car accident attorneys conveniently located in:
Don’t hesitate to contact our Rhode Island law firm to discover why our attorneys are the ones you’ll want standing beside you as you go up against tough insurance companies and negligent parties.
We offer a free consultation, and our team is always available to take your call. Contact us to get started today.
Contact Our Rhode Island Car Accident Lawyers Today
I’ve you or a loved one has been injured due to someone else’s negligence, don’t wait. Marasco & Nesselbush injury attorneys take pride in navigating the entire legal process with you. While you may be focused on physical injuries and regaining your health, we will work to get you the compensation you deserve.