What Causes Car Accidents?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) determined that the top three causes for auto accidents include distracted driving, speeding and impaired driving.

Car Accident Causes

Distracted driving 

Distracted driving is anything that takes your attention away from driving. This could be sending a text message, snacking behind the wheel, or even simply adjusting the volume of your music. Distracted driving causes more car accidents than any other accident cause, although it is not the most fatal.

  • NHTSA reported that 3,142 people were killed in distracted driving crashes in 2019.
  • A Life360 analysis of more than 84 billion miles of driving data found that distracted drivers are 21 times more likely to drive faster than the posted speed limit, 12 times more likely to rapidly accelerate, and seven times more likely to hard brake.          
  • That same analysis shows that distracted drivers in general are four times more likely to cause a collision.


Speeding is a top cause of traffic fatalities, usually comprising around a third of the annual deaths caused by car crashes. Interestingly, speeding does not actually save you that much time, and it is certainly not worth the increased risk.

Impaired Driving

Impaired driving is hands down the largest threat to life that Americans face on the road every year. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, each day 29 people in the U.S. die in motor vehicle crashes that involve a driver under the influence of alcohol. This amounts to one death every 50 minutes.

How serious of a problem is impaired driving?

  • The NHTSA determined that 10,142 people died from drunk driving crashes in 2019 in the U.S.
  • Illegal or legal drugs are involved in nearly 16% of motor vehicle crashes.
  • Drunk driving is one of the leading causes of death for young Americans aged 15-24 years old.

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