Human Errors Cause Most Vehicle Crashes

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has surveyed the causes of motor vehicle crashes, and it has concluded that they are predominately due to driver related errors. Research has documented that 90 percent of motor vehicle crashes are caused at least in part by human error.

Common driver decision errors include driving too fast for conditions, too fast for the curve, false assumption of other driver’s actions, illegal maneuvers and other misjudgments.

Common driver recognition errors include driver’s inattention, inadequate surveillance and distractions. Driver distractions can be cognitive (not being focused), visual (not looking at the roadway) or manual (taking one or both hands off the wheel).

Sleep issues were the most common reason for driver non performance error. NHTSA estimates that each year drowsy driving is responsible for 100,000 automobile crashes, 71,000 injuries and over 1,500 fatalities.

Vehicle related and environmental related crashes amounted to less than 5% of all crashes.