Most people ride in cars, trucks and SUVs so often that they forget how dangerous it is. There is inclement weather, darkness, unmarked obstacles, mechanical failure, and other challenges to overcome. Still, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a shocking 94% of all motor vehicle collisions are caused by human error. Weather, vehicle failure and other hard-to-pin-down causes amount to just 2% of crashes.
What counts as a human error?
The most common types of human error happen again and again. These include:
- Decision error: People make bad decisions from time to time, but doing it behind the wheel can have lethal consequences. Bad choices often occur because the driver is distracted, driving too fast for the road or conditions, misinterpreting other drivers’ actions, or performing risky maneuvers.
- Recognition error: This can involve not identifying a hazard until it is too late, misjudging others’ speed, or not realizing that road conditions are unsafe.
- Performance error: Even when a recognizes a danger, they may not take appropriate actions for preventing a collision. Overreacting or overcorrecting to avoid a perceived hazard are common examples.
Investigators can often find the real cause
Few willingly admit to making mistakes, particularly if it caused severe or fatal injuries to innocent victims. They may rationalize actions in their head or not tell the truth. So, injured victims or their families will often verify the cause of a collision by working with independent investigators who handle crash site investigations. These professionals can examine the details of the injuries, damage to the vehicles, look at the collision site, and other factors. Rather than basing an outcome on recalling what happened in a traumatic split second, the investigators can often determine what happened more accurately than some involved in the actual crash.