Common Causes of Car Accidents in California

October 25, 2020 Posted In Car Accidents

One of the most common causes of serious personal injuries and fatalities in the State of California is automobile accidents. Car, bicycle and pedestrian accidents took 3,904 lives and injured 277,160 victims in California in 2017 alone, according to the California Highway Patrol. Riverside reported 2,119 injured and killed car accident victims the same year. Recognizing the most common causes of car accidents in California could help you avoid a serious collision.

Distracted Driving

Driving safely requires 100% of a driver’s focus, concentration and attention. If anything distracts the driver, even for a few seconds, it could lead to a preventable collision. Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that 2,841 deaths in the country stemmed from distracted drivers in 2018. The number of deaths due to driver distractions from 2012 to 2018 exceeds 23,000.

Driver distraction is a severe problem on the roads of California. Some of the most common culprits are cellphones, texting, passengers, children, pets, radios, food and drink, maps/GPS, daydreaming, and rubbernecking. A distracted driver in Riverside can cause an accident by failing to notice a hazard in time to brake and prevent a collision. Distractions reduce reaction times and increase the risk of car accidents.


Speeding is a common infraction in California. Many drivers speed to make it to work on time, avoid traffic or due to recklessness. Speeding generally refers to exceeding posted speed limits, but it can also refer to driving at or below the limit if dangerous road conditions – such as rain or fog – make it dangerous for drivers to go the speed limit. Speeding can cause catastrophic car accidents in San Bernardino, or anywhere in the country. When two cars collide at a high speed, the damages and injuries can be much worse than in a low-speed accident.

Drunk Driving

Alcohol involvement is common in car accident reports in California. The total number of drunk driving fatalities in California in 2017 was 1,147 according to the state highway patrol office, with 220 victims injured and killed in the City of Riverside. A drunk driver is more likely to have poor judgment and reduced reaction times. Drunk drivers can cause accidents such as T-bone accidents, head-on collisions, high-speed crashes and pileups. The legal limit for blood alcohol concentration levels in California is 0.08%. Exceeding this amount – or driving with any amount of alcohol that impairs your driving abilities – could lead to a criminal driving under the influence charge.

Breaking Roadway Rules

California has many traffic laws that keep its roads functioning smoothly. These laws include rights-of-way, speed limits and traffic control devices. When negligent drivers break traffic rules, accidents happen. Broken traffic laws lead to accidents caused by unsafe lane changes, illegal turns, illegal passing, speeding, following too closely, running red lights and other infractions. The driver who broke the law and caused the accident will be liable for damages in California.

Nondriver-Related Causes

Negligent, reckless and dangerous drivers are the main causes of car accidents in California. Human errors on the road, from failing to properly maintain a vehicle to drowsy driving, can be deadly. However, some car accidents in California trace back to nondriver causes. This is especially true of single-vehicle car accidents. Examples of nondriver causes of car accidents are bad weather, animals crossing the road, dangerous construction zones, road defects such as potholes and auto defects.

If you get into a car accident in California, one of your first tasks will be determining fault. You may need a Riverside car accident attorney to assist you. Fault for your accident may go to a negligent driver, the City of Riverside for an unsafe roadway or an automaker for a defective car. A lawyer can help you identify the right defendant and bring a strong claim to damages in California.

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