The Underlying Causes of New York Car Accidents

Welcome to New York, the Empire State, home of more than 240,000 miles of highways, driven by more than 12,000,000 drivers, driving more than 4,444,000 automobiles (2019).

With so many cars and drivers, inevitably, car accidents will happen. Thousands of New Yorkers and visitors are sent to the ER or hospitalized because they were injured in a motor vehicle accident. According to the New York Department of Traffic 2020 Annual Highway Safety Report, these are the latest car accident statistics –

  • 11,200+ serious injuries caused by traffic crashes, holding about steady over the past five years of collected data.
  • 1,000+ traffic fatalities caused by traffic crashes.

Another important metric of the underlying causes of New York car accidents is the Fatality Rate/100 million miles of vehicle traffic. Fortunately, the moving average for this metric has been steadily dropping over the past few years.

Note that New York State has implemented awareness campaigns targeted at mitigating the number of car accidents in the state that appear to be having a positive outcome on traffic fatalities and injuries. These campaigns implemented throughout the state, plus the increased vehicle safety of vehicles, are likely the root cause of the reduction in New York car accident fatalities.

  • The Department of Health of New York State (Bureau of Occupational Health & Injury Prevention) recognizes (2016) that –
    • Motor vehicle traffic injuries rank as the 4th leading cause of death caused by injuries in the Empire State. Of the approximate 1,000 fatalities caused by car accidents in New York, about 1/3 are occupants in the vehicle, another third are pedestrians, and about 15% are on a motorcycle or bicycle.
    • Motor vehicle traffic injuries rank as the second leading cause of Injury Related hospitalizations in the Empire State.  Additionally, there were more than 12,000 hospitalizations due to traffic-related industries. Of the 12,000 hospitalizations, about half are occupants, 25% were pedestrians, and another 15% were on a bicycle or motorcycle.
    • Motor vehicle traffic injuries rank as the third leading cause of New Yorkers that are treated &released from an Emergency Room in the Empire State. Of the approximate 136,000 ER visits caused by car accidents in New York, about 3/4 are occupants in the vehicle, about 10% pedestrians, and about 6% were on a motorcycle or bicycle.

What are the Underlying Causes of New York Car Accidents?

Car accidents happen for various reasons. But the reality is that some car accidents are simply not avoidable, and however, many car accidents are.

According to the PNAS the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, most car crashes (90%) were caused by driver performance and awareness factors. Researchers at Stanford Law School conducted studies that led to the same conclusion.

If you or someone you know/love was involved in an automobile accident in the greater Buffalo metro area that was caused by any of the following underlying causes, you might be able to take the negligent party to court for resolution. It is essential to contact a Buffalo car accident attorney for a case evaluation as soon as possible.

  • Distracted or Inattentive Driving – According to the above-noted PNAS report, driving while distracted is recognized as one of the leading car accident causes. The PNAS report also notes that more than ½ of drivers participate in activities that distract from driving – doubling the risk of a crash.
  • Driving While Impaired – Driving while intoxicated (or high) compromises a person’s ability to operate a car safely significantly. The NHTSA reports that car accidents caused by drunk driving take more than 10,000 lives annually. All 50 states prohibit driving under the influence as it is the cause of catastrophic risk.
  • Reckless Driving – A reckless driver willfully ignores the safety of other drivers/pedestrians and the rules of the road. Those charged with driving recklessly may face a misdemeanor that is punishable as a criminal offense.
  • Speeding is a fundamental cause of New York car accidents and is considered reckless driving. According to experts, about half of speeding drivers ignore seatbelt laws, compared to 20% of non-speeding drivers. An increase of 1 km/hour equates to an increased risk of injury by 3%.
  • Poor Road Maintenance – Road-related factors are a primary cause of car crashes in New York state. This includes, according to WHO –
    • Poorly designed roadways
    • Road Defects
      • Potholes
      • Poor or Missing Signage
      • Drop off Shoulders
      • Uneven Payment
    • Weather Conditions that increase the danger

If a roadway is not adequately maintained to meet specific safety standards, the responsible party may be liable for the resulting injuries.

  • Defective/Malfunctioning Car Parts include sufficient crash protection built into the vehicle.
  • Poorly Placed Traffic Controls – this happens in various ways –
    • Signs that are placed in locations that become blocked by tree branches.
    • A traffic light malfunctions, which ultimately causes a traffic mishap in New York.
    • Directional signs that were knocked down were not replaced, to name a few.

Contact a Buffalo Car Accident Attorney Today

Being involved in an auto accident in western New York can be stressful, and the aftermath of a car accident only aggravates stress to potentially overwhelming levels.

Contacting a qualified Buffalo car accident attorney can help you determine if the car accident was the result of reckless driving and offer peace of mind.

From the loss of the ability to work, the need to recover from injuries, and the loss of wages, the situation is likely better managed by an experienced attorney with the skills to help you receive that you deserve.