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Bad Decisions Cause Most Car Crashes

Human error is the cause of 90 percent of all car crashes. Underlying “human error” are bad decisions. It is bad decisions, ultimately, that cause most car crashes. It seems logical to believe that these bad decisions are made by young and inexperienced drivers. However, many of these bad decisions are madedistracted driving - Altizer Law by very experienced drivers who have either formed habits of making bad decisions – running a stop sign, speeding, failure to signal – or make split-second decisions that there will be no negative outcomes from their infractions.

In Virginia in 2015 there were 125,800 car crashes, 711 fatal crashes, 753 fatalities, 42,957 injury crashes, and 65,029 injuries.

Here are the top four causes of car crashes. It is noteworthy that each of these causes of crashes resulted from a bad decision on the part of a driver.

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving occurs when a driver directs his/her attention from driving to some other activity. Common distractions include:

  • Talking or making a call on a cell phone.
  • Texting or reading a text message.
  • Eating
  • Fiddling with the car radio, CD player, etc.
  • Entering destination information into a GPS system.
  • Attending to children or pets.

Distracted driving leads to any number of crash causes ranging from failure to yield to driving on the shoulder, to changing lanes without a signal, and more.


The faster you drive the less time you have to respond to a hazard and take action to prevent an accident. Drivers exceed the speed limit in all speed zones, as we all know. Sometimes they get away with it. Sometimes they get a speeding ticket. If they are driving more than 20 mph over the posted speed limit, they commit a misdemeanor – reckless driving – and might spend up to 12 months in jail. Sometimes they kill someone. Choosing to exceed the posted speed limit is a bad decision that might cause a car crash.

In 2015 due to speeding drivers there were:

– 323 persons killed

– 255 Drivers killed

– 59 Passengers killed

– 9 Pedestrians killed

– 14,052 persons injured

– 10,332 Drivers injured

– 3,627 Passengers injured

– 93 Pedestrians injured

– 25,256 crashes

– 9,233 Injury crashes

– 302 Fatal crashes

– 15,721 Property Damage crashes

– 219 Speeding Drivers Killed or 40% of all Drivers Killed

Drunk driving

We all know that when people drink or use drugs they lose the ability to focus and function normally. Drunk or drugged driving means also that your reaction time is slowed significantly. Drunk driving is another bad decision that often leads to a car crash.Car Accident Attorney Roanoke VA

In 2015 there were:

– 241 persons killed in alcohol-related crashes or 32.0% of all traffic fatalities

– 4,917 persons injured in alcohol-related crashes or 7.6% of all traffic injuries

– 7,591 alcohol-related crashes or 6.0% of all crashes

– 228 alcohol-related fatal crashes or 32.1% of all fatal crashes

– 3,356 alcohol-related personal injury crashes or 7.8% of all injury crashes

– 4,007 alcohol-related property damage crashes or 4.9% of all property damage crashes


Running Stop Signs or Traffic Lights

The choice made by a driver to run through a stop sign or a traffic light is a bad decision that often causes an automobile accident. These drivers often cause side-impact accidents at high speeds. Rollover accidents are common, as well, in these cases.

In 2015, drivers who ran a traffic control were involved in 3,867 crashes; 2.91% of all Virginia crashes.


When drivers make bad decisions – including the decision to drive – crashes often occur and people are injured or killed. If every driver in Virginia could avoid these bad decisions, we could significantly reduce the number of people injured or killed on Virginia highways and byways.

If you are injured or a loved one is killed in a car crash due to the illegal actions or negligence of another driver, call Altizer Law, P.C. Our promise to our clients is always honesty, compassion, and aggressive pursuit of justice and fair compensation on your behalf.