What Percentage of Car Accidents Are Caused by Human Error?

Hands on the wheel when driving at high speed from inside the car.

We all make mistakes, but a mistake on the road can be deadly. So, just how many car accidents are caused by human error? Following are some shocking statistics about driver errors and collisions.

Statistics on Human Driving Errors Causing Car Crashes

Indiana University conducted an eye-opening study about what percentage of car accidents are caused by human error. They found that human error was the primary contributor in 93 percent of the collisions they examined.

The top three human mistakes that led to car crashes were:

  • Inattentiveness
  • Speeding
  • Improper lookout

The study also noted that environmental factors were the primary cause of 12 to 34 percent of accidents, and just 4 to 13 percent involved mechanical or other issues with one of the vehicles in the crash.

The Insurance Information Institute (III) also recently conducted a study that broke down the percentages of human error-caused traffic collisions. Some things to note:

  • 5.5 percent of crashes were due to distracted driving
  • 11.6 percent of collisions involved alcohol or drugs
  • 3.2 percent of wrecks were caused by over-correcting or over-steering
  • 7.3 percent of crashes resulted from careless operation of a vehicle
  • 2.2 percent of collisions were due to drowsy or fatigued driving
  • 6.8 percent of wrecks were caused by failure to yield the right-of-way
  • 19.1 percent of crashes were due to speeding or driving too fast for road or weather conditions

Common Types of Human Mistakes That Lead to Collisions

Some everyday mistakes drivers make can have catastrophic consequences, like:

  • Failing to brake soon enough and then slamming on the brakes
  • Misjudging the distance between themselves and another vehicle or the turn they need to make
  • Trying to make it through an intersection before the light changes and running a red light instead
  • Speeding
  • Not checking blind spots before merging or changing lanes

Causes of Human Driver Errors

Humans make mistakes, but deadly situations can occur when they get behind the wheel of a car, truck, or commercial semi after drinking, when they’re too tired to operate the vehicle, or when they’re too distracted to think clearly.

Common human driving errors include:

  • Drunk driving – Alcohol impairs a driver’s coordination, vision, and ability to make appropriate decisions.
  • Drowsy driving – Drowsiness and fatigue have much the same effect on a driver as alcohol or drugs. Any degree of impairment can lead to a crash.
  • Distracted driving – Texting, putting on makeup, and eating behind the wheel are all forms of distracted driving that remove a driver’s hands, eyes, or focus from driving.
  • Recognition errors – Sometimes, drivers mistake one object for another or fail to notice a smaller-profile vehicle on the roadway in time.
  • Decision errors – Sometimes, people make bad decisions behind the wheel, like speeding or driving too fast for inclement weather conditions.
  • Performance errors – Performance errors refer to a driver’s physical missteps, like accidentally shifting into neutral by mistake or turning the steering wheel too hard and overcorrecting.

Contact Our Alabama Car Accident Lawyers for Help After Someone Else’s Error Causes a Crash

Have you been injured in a collision caused by another driver’s mistake? Contact Morris, King & Hodge, P.C., today for a free consultation about your case.

Joe A. King, Jr., has been trying cases on behalf of injured plaintiffs or surviving families since 2000.