Car Accidents

Car Accidents

Mankind is faced by many challenges on a daily basis. These challenges may be natural (meaning that mankind can do very little to control them), or man induced. One of the most significant challenges that are man induced is the number of road accidents witnessed on a daily basis in the world. In definition, a car accident happens when a driver collides with animals, pedestrians, road debris, another vehicle or any other form of moving or stationary obstruction (Sparks, 2013). Forms of stationary obstruction may include things like utility poles or trees.

Car accidents have many effects as they may lead to death, property damage, vehicle damage or even fatal and permanent injuries. Road accidents are precipitated by many factors including road signs, speed of operation, road environment, driver behavior, vehicle design and even the impairment/skills of the driver (Miranda, 2005). Car accidents affects the financial costs of the whole world as well as other costs to the society; like death, and also costs individuals involved or their families. This research paper seeks to discuss causes and effects of car accidents. Research done by America and British crash reports show different factors lead to road accidents. These reports rate driver factors as high as 57 percent, 27 percent as combined roadway and driver causes, 6% as combined driver and vehicle factors (Abbott, 2013). Other factors such as driver and road way factors took miner percentages of at least 2 percent.

There are many human factors that lead to car accidents. In fact, these are the most significant factors ones as they amount to almost 60 percent of all the causes of road accidents (ASRIT, 2014). These human factors include; decision-making ability, visual and auditory acuity, reaction speed and driver behavior.  Driver behavior plays a big role in human factors that cause car accidents. This is more so because factors such as intoxication and driver errors contribute partly or wholly to almost 93 percent of all road crashes. This was according to research done by American and British crash reports in 2007. This survey discovered that most drivers believe that they are really good in driving skills, although this proved to be contrary to the reckless driving experienced we witness in the streets. These drivers just let their overconfidence overshadow their abilities, and end up making poor decisions while on the road (Gage, 2013). In fact, many drivers believe they are not at fault when grave accidents occur on the roads.  As a result, the Royal Automobile Club Foundation for Motoring (RAC Foundation) did a research on what drivers thought were the main cause of accidents. Below is what drivers highlighted as the best elements of good driving;

  • Drivers highlighted a car’s size and its capability awareness as a key element in good driving.
  • Reading and responding to weather conditions, the environment, road conditions and road signs were also highlighted as key elements to good driving.
  • Being alert, reading other drivers forms of driving and anticipating their intentions was also highlighted as a key factor to be aware of in good driving.

To a wide extent, these are key elements of driving, but they do not account for everything that guarantees good driving practices. This is because; most of these skills are learnt in a driving school. However, overconfidence can still get in the way of a good driver, putting him/her at risk of causing an accident.

Other than the above highlighted causes of accidents, there are more motor vehicles today that there were a few years back. Almost every homestead has a car today, and that means in as much as one may be a good driver, congestion in our roads can lead to a pile up, while it were just one car that made an accident (Stanton, 2013). For instance, if vehicles are on a busy highway driving at a speed limit of 80 km/h and one of them burst its tire, more than one vehicle may end up colliding with each other. This would not be because the speed of 80km/h is difficult to control more so for an experienced driver. A pileup would happen because there would be many vehicles taking all the maneuvering space one may need to escape an unstable vehicle on the road.

Failure to comply with traffic rules is also another example which leads to many road accidents every year. This is one of the significant factors accredited to road accidents as people ignore what is meant to keep them save on the roads, only to end up being accident casualties (WHO, 2013). A good example is the traffic lights that are installed in our roads. Sometimes people claim to be in a hurry and as a result they run a red light which is supposed to prevent them from crushing with other oncoming vehicles at crossroads. Those who do not comply sometimes may get lucky and not get involved in an accident, but they endanger even the lives of other road users who follow traffic rules and regulation.

Speed limit signs that are meant to guide drivers on the right speed to use. The signs are may be installed because of poor roadway condition, many pedestrians or even children crossing. However, sometimes we find many people exceeding the set speed limits assuming that these signs are just there to late them to wherever they are going. This makes one wonder; if one feels that by abiding by speed limits makes them late to either wok or whatever other destinations, why not leave home early? On top of that, speed limits are also mostly found in roads whose terrain may be hard to maneuver, for instance, at a U turn. If a driver ignored a speed limit and then came upon a U turn at a high speed, it means that an accident would be inevitable (Stanton, 2013).

Mobile phone usage on the roads has also become a major cause of road accidents in the world today (WHO, 2013). With the recent developments in technology, it means people are always busy on their mobile phones, and maybe constantly online on a social media forum. As a result, people tend to be addicted to their phones and it is not a surprise to find a person holding a steering wheel on one hand and a telephone on the other. Operating a telephone while driving is classified under unnecessary distractions factors while driving. Teenagers are mostly affected by telephone usage while driving than adults. As a result, many research bodies have ventured into finding out just how potentially distractive telephone usage is while driving.

A survey carried out in 2012 rated car accidents as teenagers’ no.1 killer, where phone texting or telephoning had a big contribution in the matter (ASRIT, 2014). This research was paid for by the General Motors Foundation under the title of “Teens in Cars” and it put the numbers of teenagers who died from auto accidents at 2, 439. Of these dead teenagers, 56% of them were driving at the time of their deaths. 44 percent of these teenagers were drivers while above half of this population never bothered to wear their seat belts. Therefore, a traffic rule like wearing a seat belt which many people seem to ignore can determine whether one loses a life in the event of an accident or not. The research also says that 40 % of the driving teenagers must have been texting or talking to someone on their phones.  This research also shows that almost every person today can attest to being in a car driven by someone talking on the phone. Therefore, telephone usage brings out clearly lack of following traffic rules as a major contributor to car accidents in our roads. Due to the effects of telephoning or texting while driving, many states in the word have come up with laws that recognize telephone usage while driving as a crime (Abbott, 2013).

In fact, scientists believe that also listening to certain types of music can also lead to a car accident. For instance, a research done by British scientists, they argue that yes music has a calming effect while driving. However, they argue music sometimes have a way too much relaxing effect that may even make a driver sleep while steering. On top of that, these scientists argue that music such as hard rock may cause an excitement effect to a driver who may step on the acceleration pedal exceeding the speed limits of a certain location. This means that such an excited driver would definitely create a situation of car accident potentiality.

Driving under the influence substances such as alcohol and other drugs is another factor that leads to roads accidents on a daily basis (WHO, 2013). This is more prevalent among the teens, although it does not mean that adults are spared either. In fact, different researches done in efforts of trying to identify car accidents patterns show that different periods and seasons project different car accident statistics. These researches have data showing that weekends tend to be worse than weekdays because many people are free and they end up consuming different forms of substances for entertainment. This includes too much drinking and overdoses on either prescribed or illicit drugs. Statistics also show that fall and summer tend to register high car accident statistics when compared with winter and spring moths (ASRIT, 2014). During public holidays, car accidents especially among teenager are also as ahigh as during the weekends and during summer.

Alcohol abuse among teenagers continues to play a big role in the massive numbers if road accidents witnessed during holidays and weekends. The effects of alcohol on driving safety, especially on underage consumers, cannot be overstated, and the available alcohol-related car crashes statistics are sobering. Each year in across the United States, 6,000 teenagers are killed by drinking under the influence of alcohol (DUI), a number that surpasses all illegal drugs combined. So much is the frequency that, in 2009, deaths emanating from alcohol-related car crashes was 1 in every 50 minutes! Drunk teenagers’ road recklessness continues to claim major newspaper headlines slots: teenagers car racing… four people dead; an elderly man mowed down by an over speeding drunk driver… as a result, the most needed (and limited) policing time is wasted trying to investigate each case of hit-and-run while this time could be used to carry out more important and unavoidable cases is lost unproductively. In addition, courts waste most of their limited time presiding over evitable accidents. When this happens, the family, friends and communities of the victims suffer the greatest pain when a teenager with promising future perishes in a grizzly automobile accident because of alcohol consumption (Abbott, 2013). Therefore, the society should take measures to curb the menace of DUI instead of lying in wait until it is a close kin who turns out to be the victim.

Although young drivers – aged between 19 and 21 – accounts for most of alcohol-related car accidents, dunk adult drivers are also frequently involved in road accidents, some even fatal (Zhang et al, 2013). According to statistics, an estimated 45% of all road accidents costs in the United States are alcohol related. And most of the times it is not the drunk driver who foots the entire bill. Instead, other people who maybe do not even consume alcohol (society) have to settle almost half of the total alcohol-related road accident costs. For instance, in 1999, alcohol-related road accidents accounted for approximately 16% of the total monetary compensation made by motor vehicle insurance companies. Additionally, in the same year, the financial cost to society topped out at 80 cents per ever drink consumed; 40 cents of this cost was contributed by other members of society other than the reckless drunk driver. All injured alcohol-related survivors must also bear the responsibility of  the lost productivity and health care costs. As such, it is crystal clear that alcohol consumption is bad for society.

Fatigue is also another factor that leads to road as accidents in our society. Fatigue may emanate from lack of sleep or even use of prescribed and illegal drugs. Most of the times, over-the-counter drug such as opioids or antihistamines can cause fatigue. Lack of sleep also contributes to car crashes on a daily basis especially when drivers embark on long journey. As a result, drivers are instructed to make sure that they get enough sleep before embarking on long journeys for they could fall asleep behind the wheel (Stanton, 2013). That is even why trucks that are meant to transport goods over long distances have inbuilt bed so that their drivers could take a break if they ever felt the need to do so while on the journey.

Other than sleep deprivation, old aged has been highlighted as another cause of road accidents (Sparks, 2013). This is because; some people tend to lose eyesight and even the speed of reaction wit old age. Others may even develop unpredictable health conditions that may attack a driver while behind the wheel on fast moving traffic. Since this is a potential cause of accident, some states even require old aged people to retake their driving tests so that their response as well as their eye sight could be re-evaluated.

Road designs and maintenance has also been highlighted as another factor affecting road accidents (Zhang et al, 2013). A research carried out in the United States in 1985 showed that about 34 percents of all road accidents occurring then were as a result of poor road designs. This is more so in connection with roadway designs although they involved human factors. These factors either did not give room for recovery or they either contributed significantly to the crash. A good example would be a poorly and uneven tarmac road. Such a road may be uncomfortable for a driver and sometimes even affect the response of a driver to a potentially dangerous situation. Accidents may also happen due to poorly designed road surface, poor traffic controlling devices, invisible and also poorly built intersections (Miranda, 2005). Therefore, if these factors were properly addressed, poor road designs and maintenance may be eliminated as a factor contributing to loss of life through car accidents.

Vehicle maintenance is also another factor to address when looking at things that contribute to road accidents. This is because; a poorly maintained vehicle would be more prone to accidents than a properly maintained one (Zhang et al, 2013). A properly maintained vehicle always has well inflated tires, with good brakes and working emergency systems. That is why there are even tests installed in different countries in the world meant to check whether the vehicles are road worthy or not. Motor vehicles manufacturing companies have also been designing their vehicles with protection material that are meant to keep the occupant of the vehicles safe after collision.

Recent global statistics have shown that road accidents nowadays take as many lives just like other contagious diseases. This is because; recent statistics show that car accidents take approximately 1.3 million lives on a yearly basis in the world (ASRIT, 2014). That puts daily deaths at an average of 3,287 deaths on a daily basis. On top of that, a research carried out by the Association for Safe International Road Travel (ASRIT) showed that approximately between 20 and 50 million people are disabled or injured from road accidents on a daily basis (ASRIT, 2014). In addition, the research also showed that more than half of these road accidents have people between ages of between 15 and 44 involved. These are very saddening statistics since its usually young people who have bright futures who are usually taken away by these road accidents.

Other than the above facts, the above research also showed that road accidents account for more than 2.2 percents deaths in the world on a yearly basis. In fact, car accidents have been rated as the 9th leading killer in the world (ASRIT, 2014). Among the youth between the ages of between 15 and 29 years of age, car crashes is rated as the no.1 cause of their deaths. It has also been rated as the second leading cause of death among the populations aged between 5 and 14 years of age. The research also argue that people aged below 25 years of age are more likely to road accidents as almost 400,000 die per annum, and a daily average of 100,000. Statistics shown by this research also indicate that over 90 percent of all road accidents mainly happen in middle and low-income countries in the world, while they only make up less than half of the whole world’s vehicles population.

The above research also estimated the costs brought about by road accidents to the world on a yearly basis as at least USD $518 billion on yearly basis. This means that road accidents cost individual countries at least between 1-2 percent of their annual GDP. On top of that, road crashes tend to cost low and middle income countries even more that the amount they receive from international organizations and other forms grants for developmental assistance (ASRIT, 2014). This is because, the ASIRT research show that these road carnages cost them at least USD $65 billion annually. Therefore, the Association For Safe International Travel feelS that unless action meant to curb road carnage in our society is undertaken, it has the potential of become the 5th leading cause of death in the world.

The United States of America is not lucky either as the above research shows some disturbing statistics. The ASIRT research gathered the following statistics in relation to road accidents in this country. For starters, road accidents account for more than 37,000 deaths in this country per year according to the research. On top of that, 2.35 million are left disabled or injured as a result of road accidents every year. The research additionally showed that more than 1,600 children of below 15 years of age die every year as a result of road accidents. The United States of America loses more than 8,000 people on road accidents on a yearly basis in vehicle being driven by young people aged between 16 and 20 years of age (ASRIT, 2014). When it comes to terms of cost; road carnage costs the United States approximately USD $230.6 billion per year. That is at an average of USD $820 per person. Additionally, statistics also show that road carnage is the single greatest death cause in this country for citizens is car accidents, especially among United States citizens travelling abroad.

The above research shows that there are many causes as well as effects of road accidents. Therefore, I believe it is up to every individual to take the responsibility of being a cautious driver on the road, and also for the authorities to make sure that proper economic developments as well as proper road usage policies are installed. That is all in efforts of trying to curb the above vice.



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