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Negligence on the Road: Common Causes of Fatal Collisions

Negligence on the Road: Common Causes of Fatal Collisions

Fatal car accidents can often be prevented. If a driver prepares for the worst and eliminates all distractions or impairment behind the wheel, serious injury or death can easily be avoided.

The most common cause of collision is driver error. The National Safety Council estimates that 90% of all fatal collisions result from driver error.

Many factors contribute to a fatal collision, including distracted driving, speed of impact, and the use (or lack there-of) of safety features within a vehicle. You can trace most causes of car accidents back to improper or inexperienced driving behaviors.

In no particular order, below are just five common causes of fatal car accidents.

Common Causes of Fatal Car Accidents

1. Lack of experience

Inexperienced drivers are usually teens, fresh out of driving school and eager to get behind the wheel. Teen drivers are at greater risk for fatal collisions than older drivers. A lack of experience, combined with poor judgment and a tendency toward risky behavior, can make them more vulnerable to accidents.

2. Drugs

As more states legalize the use of recreational marijuana, the risk of drug-impaired driving has become a bigger concern. Additionally, prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, and illegal drugs also pose the risk of causing impairment alone or in combination with each other and/or alcohol. However, the perception of other drugs’ ability to cause impairment is often not as strong as perception around the dangers of alcohol. A study conducted by Liberty Mutual Insurance and Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) found that a third of all teens surveyed believed it was legal to drive under the influence of marijuana in state. In every State and the District of Colombia, impaired driving is illegal. A quarter of teens admitted that driving under the influence of marijuana is common among their friends (Liberty Mutual and SADD).

3. Alcohol

Fatal collisions are a serious concern, and in many instances, they can be avoided. One of the most common causes of fatal collisions is impaired driving. In fact, in 2017 alone, more than 40 percent of all traffic deaths involved alcohol impairment. Additionally, being a passenger in a car in which the driver is under the influence also increases your risk of death or injury related to alcohol. In 2018, The CDC reported that over 16 percent of high school students reported that they had ridden in a car driven by someone who had been drinking.

4. Seat belt use

Seat belt use is one of the most important factors in avoiding fatal collisions. Drivers and passengers should always wear their seat belts, even if they are just going a short distance.

Seat belt use reduces the risk of death by more than half for front-seat occupants and almost two-thirds for rear-seat occupants in passenger vehicles. Studies show that more than half of all motor vehicle crash fatalities occur among unbuckled drivers and passengers.

In 2016, 54 percent of youth ages 16 to 20 killed in motor vehicle crashes were not wearing seat belts.

5. Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is the most common cause of fatal car crashes in the United States. Distracted driving can involve a number of different activities that take the driver’s full attention from driving. There are three main types of distraction:·


— taking your eyes off the road.


— taking your hands off the wheel.


— taking your mind off what you’re doing.

Common practices associated with distracted driving include using a cell phone or GPS, eating or drinking, or adjusting the radio, CD player, or mp3 player.

Fatal Collisions are Possible. Stay educated, stay safe!

Any of the above can cause an accident, but one slight change in speed or angle of impact can quickly turn an inconvenience into a tragedy.

At Bell & Pollock P.C., we are here to help. Even though modern vehicles have more safety features than ever, accidents can still happen. While some tips and tricks can help you avoid the five most common car accidents, nothing is guaranteed.

If you or a loved one were in a Colorado car accident, legal help is available when you call Bell & Pollock, P.C. today at 720-734-4445!

Contact us at (800) 559-5920 to consult with an experienced accident lawyer.

Now a Word from Gary Bell

Auto Legal Talk

By Gary Bell of Bell & Pollock Injury Attorneys


Most people have probably heard of “click it or ticket” and other campaigns to wear seatbelts. But what does the law actually say on the issue? How does wearing or not wearing a seatbelt affect your claim in an auto accident?

Colorado Law

The Colorado law on seatbelt use can be found at Colorado Revised Statutes §42-4-237. This law states that every driver and front seat passengers must wear a seatbelt while the vehicle is being operated. Any driver or front seat passenger commits a class B traffic infraction by not wearing a seatbelt. However, a vehicle may not be pulled over for only a seatbelt infraction. The police officer must have pulled the vehicle over for another traffic violation in order to cite a driver for a seatbelt violation.

Colorado law also requires all passengers under the age of 16 to be restrained while the vehicle is being operated, either by a seatbelt (if over 8 years old) or by a child restraint system (if under 8 years old). This statute can be found at C.R.S. §42-4-236.

Seatbelts and Auto Accident Cases

If you’re in an auto accident and you weren’t wearing a seatbelt, your case could be affected. The Colorado statute that requires seatbelts to be worn also states that evidence of the failure to comply with that rule can be used in court to mitigate pain and suffering damages. This means that a jury could determine that your pain and suffering is less valuable because you were not wearing a seatbelt. There are no rules limiting by how much a jury may reduce pain and suffering damages.

Evidence of your failure to wear a seatbelt cannot be used to reduce your economic damages, meaning your medical bills and lost wages, nor can it be used to reduce recovery for damages such as disfigurement and disability.

The Takeaway

Not only are seatbelts important to wear because they can save lives, but they’re important for your auto accident case as well. So every time you get behind the wheel or are a passenger in a vehicle, fasten your seatbelt. You never know what might happen if you don’t.

To Learn Even More . . .

Visit our website to listen to the show on this subject and all of our other radio shows on various legal topics.

If you have any questions about the topics discussed in today’s newsletter, or questions on other legal issues, give our office a call and one of our attorneys would be happy to talk with you.

More Information

Get more information about your rights and options following an accident by checking out one of our helpful BOOKS: THEY ARE FREE.

  • Don’t Get Hurt Twice in the Same Accident – This enlightening guide dispels some of the most common (and harmful) myths about car crashes, insurance companies, attorneys, and financial recoveries.
  • The Essential Guide to Car Insurance in Colorado – This guide helps all drivers better understand car insurance. If you’ve ever had a question about a claim, dispute or car insurance in general, this is a must-read.
  • Cowards of the Street: Hit & Run – This book uncovers the facts about hit and runs and how to financially recover from these crashes. It also shares about what you can do to protect yourself before and after a hit and run accident occurs.
  • Colorado’s Workers’ Compensation: The Ultimate Guide – This insightful book reveals everything you need to know in order to protect your rights as a worker – and to position a Colorado workers’ compensation claim for success.
  • Legal Game Plan – This educational book helps you better understand insurance company’s hidden game plan…and come up with one on your own!
  • Motorcycle Accidents (or How to Go Full Throttle Against the Insurance Companies) – This informative read will help motorcyclists come up with a plan of action to combat the insurance agencies. If you ride a motorcycle, you need this book.
  • 18 Mistakes You Could Make to Destroy Your Injury Claim – Found within is a precise guide regarding a trove of detailed mistakes one should avoid when pursuing a successful resolution to ones case. This work helps answer questions and details advice to protect oneself from common pitfalls and perils associated with a compensation claim.
  • Distracted Driving and Your Injury Claim  This comprehensive work assists all drivers in understanding the dangers of distracted driving and its relationship to your injury claim.
  • Premises Liability (Landowner Responsibility and Injury Recovery) – This definitive piece renders the details behind the history of the Premises Liability Law in Colorado and highlights examples of responsibility which further offers a practical guide for injured victims.

Call our office to request copies of our books. THEY ARE FREE. You can also request a copy of any (or all) of these books on our website. You can download a free electronic copy anytime. And be sure to tune in to our weekly radio show to learn more about a variety of legal topics.

A Colorado law firm that puts people first. Your case matters

We’re ready and eager to tackle whatever tough personal injury issue you’re dealing with in Denver and all of Colorado. Your case matters here.


(303) 795-5900


Bell & Pollock, P.C.

7555 E Hampden Ave #200
Denver, CO 80231


(800) 559-5920

Steamboat Springs:

Bell & Pollock, P.C.
505 Anglers Dr #104
Steamboat Springs, CO 80487


(970) 870-8989

-By Appointment Only

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