Recognizing the Cause of Your Car Accident in Illinois to Protect Your Claim

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In 2017, there was a significant increase in the number of motor vehicle accidents that resulted in fatalities. Understanding the potential causes of accidents can help people be more alert to their cause of action and recognize when they need to talk to a personal injury lawyer regarding their claim.

Increased Fatalities

The National Safety Council reported that there was an increase in motor vehicle fatalities during the first half of 2017. During this time period there were more than 18,680 people who died in motor vehicle accidents and more than two million people who sustained serious injuries across the country. There were 40,000 people who died in car accidents in the year 2016. This number of fatalities demonstrated a 6 percent increase from 2015 and was the most significant increase in motor vehicle fatalities in 53 years.

Common Causes of Motor Vehicle Accidents

Nearly 100 people die in car accidents every day in the United States. According to statistical data, the most common causes of motor vehicle accidents include the following:

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving has currently surpassed drunk driving as the leading cause of motor vehicle accidents in the United States. Distracted driving occurs when a motorist takes his or her eyes, hands or attention off of the road. Distracted driving includes eating, drinking, talking to passengers, fiddling with the radio, adjusting the GPS unit, grooming and reading. A common and serious form of distracted driving is talking on the phone or texting. These forms of distracted driving are particularly dangerous because they may take the motoristís hands, eyes and attention off the road.

Distracted driving is particularly significant for drivers under age 24. In 2015, about 2,500 teenagers between 16 and 19 were killed in motor vehicle accidents. Additionally, more than 220,000 teenagers of the same age were treated in emergency room departments for the injuries that they sustained. However, distracted driving can affect every age group. Being distracted behind the wheel can result in serious accidents when higher speeds are involved, which is possible if a person brakes too late or not at all.


Another common cause of motor vehicle accidents is speeding. Speeding continues to be a leading cause of motor vehicle accidents. When a motorist is speeding, he or she has less time to brake or otherwise react before an accident. The motorist may be unable to correct the direction of the vehicle, brake or prevent the collision. Speeding is often done in conjunction with other dangerous driving activities. For example, a motorist may speed while texting on a phone, drinking and driving or impaired driving. When drivers fail to adjust their speed when the roadway is wet from rain, ice, sleet or snow, they may skid off the roadway and be injured or killed in serious accidents. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has attributed 33,000 fatalities in the United States to the increased speed limits across the country. In 2015, 37 percent of automotive accidents involved speeding, which resulted in approximately 400 fatalities.

Impaired Driving

Impaired driving also causes a significant number of automotive accidents in Illinois and throughout the country. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 28 people die every day because of drunk driving. Between 2005 and 2014, drunk driving was responsible for 30 percent of motor vehicle fatalities.

Drugged driving incidences have also increased over the last few years. Drugged driving includes accidents caused by impairment by illegal substances as well as legally prescribed drugs. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that over 22 percent of drivers test positive for some type of drug, whether it be illegal, prescription or over-the-counter drugs.

Fatigued Driving

Fatigued driving results when a person gets drowsy while driving. Drowsy driving is more common for people who work night shifts, get inadequate sleep or who drive many miles. Drowsy driving is of particular concern in the trucking industry where truck drivers log many miles and have an incentive to take shortcuts in order to get paid faster. Drowsy driving results in one million motor vehicle accidents each year. Drowsy driving is dangerous because it impairs judgment, slows the ability to make decisions, reduces a motoristís alertness and attention. Motorists who fall asleep at the wheel are three times more likely to die in a motor vehicle accident.

Contact a Lawyer for Assistance

If you think your accident may have been caused by one of these factors, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer for assistance.


Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

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