Top Causes of Fatal Car Accidents By Jackson Reed on May 18, 2019

Car accidentCar accidents can cause catastrophic injuries, significant property damage, and costly financial losses. However, the greatest risk of an automobile accident is death. Unfortunately, fatal car crashes are a very real danger in the United States.

According to data reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 37,133 people killed on U.S. roadways in 2017. The car accident attorneys at Reed & Terry, LLP, have seen the devastating effects these accidents have had on our Sugar Land, TX clients. Here, we discuss some of the top causes of fatal car accidents across the nation.


Speeding continually ranks among the most common causes of car accidents, and fatal car accidents in particular. Speeding makes it more difficult to control a vehicle and significantly reduces the time a driver has to react to obstacles or disturbances in the road, both of which make a car crash more likely. In addition, the impact of a car crash increases along with the speed of involved vehicles, which is why a crash caused by speeding is more likely to be fatal.

According to statistics gathered by the NHTSA, there were 9,717 speed-related fatalities in 2017. This is actually a slight decrease from 2016, when there were 10,291 speed-related traffic fatalities. Unfortunately, that still accounts for around 26 percent of the total traffic fatalities for 2017, so speeding continues to be a big problem not just in Sugar Land, but across the United States.

Driving Under the Influence

Driving under the influence of alcohol is another contributing factor in many fatal car crashes. Alcohol increases the risk of an accident by slowing down a driver’s reaction time and impairing their cognitive functions.

Based on data presented for 2017, there were 10,874 traffic fatalities related to alcohol impairment in 2017. Overall, alcohol impairment was a factor in 29 percent of the traffic fatalities for the year. This is a significant number, but is actually the lowest percentage recorded since 1982, when the NHTSA first began reporting data related to alcohol-impaired crashes.

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is another big problem when it comes to car crashes. Distracted driving can describe any activity that takes the eyes, hands, or mind off the road, the car, or the task of driving. The most common form of distracted driving is texting, but making a phone call, eating, or talking to other passengers in the car can all be a concern, which is why drivers should avoid these activities while they are in control of a motor vehicle.

In 2017, the NHTSA classified 3,166, or 8.5 percent, of fatal car crashes as distraction-related. This is another area where driver behavior seemed to improve within the past year. Based on numbers presented by the NHTSA in 2016, 3,450 people were killed in crashes involving distracted drivers during that year, and 9 percent of the fatal crashes in 2016 were classified as distraction-affected.

Learn More

The majority of fatal car crashes are caused by some form of reckless or negligent driving. If you have lost a loved one in a car crash related to speeding, alcohol impairment, or distracted driving, you may be due significant financial compensation.

To learn more about your legal rights, call (281) 201-0988 to schedule a consultation with one of the car accident attorneys at Reed & Terry, LLP.

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Reed & Terry, LLP

Reed & Terry, LLP

At Reed & Terry, LLP, our personal injury attorneys have over 50 years of combined experience providing high-quality representation to clients throughout Texas. Our firm is proudly affiliated with prestigious organizations, including:

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  • Texas Trial Lawyers Association

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