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Human Errors Leading to Car Accidents

If another person’s error caused your accident, you might be entitled to compensation for your damages.

When referring to car accidents and why they’re caused, human error is amongst the most common causes. Human error refers to anything another party did themselves that caused your accident to occur. This means that if something caused the accident that was out of their control, it wasn’t human error.

How Many Car Accidents Are Caused by Human Error?

In a study performed by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) in 2016, between 94% and 96% of all car accidents are caused by human error. Human error can look like many different things, such as texting while driving, eating, or speeding. Even if someone doesn’t intend to cause an accident with their error, it’s still an error.

Errors can be accidental or intentional. For example, most people are aware of the dangers associated with behaviors like texting and driving or drunk driving and know what they’re doing when they perform those actions. When it comes to speeding, it’s common for people to be unaware that they’re speeding.

However, it doesn’t matter if an error is accidental or intentional. Both types of errors can make someone liable for an accident that occurs.

Examples of Human Error in Car Accidents

There are many different ways that human error can cause a car accident. Whether the driver knows what they’re doing or not, errors are incredibly common—a good percentage of errors go unnoticed, which is why many drivers think it’s okay to repeat these behaviors. People can text and drive over and over again without having an accident, but eventually, those behaviors will likely cause an accident of some kind.

In fact, in a survey done in 2014, 98% of people stated that they were aware of the dangers, and 75% of those people said that they’ve texted while driving at least once.

Unfortunately, even when people are aware of the errors they could be committing, they continue to do them. However, human error isn’t just texting while driving. It’s also:


In 2018, there were 9,378 fatalities because of speeding. That’s over 25% of all car accident-related fatalities that year. When someone speeds, they’re putting themselves and everyone on the road around them in danger. Speeding makes it harder to react to changing traffic conditions, such as sudden stops, light changes, and more.

Reckless Driving

Reckless driving, like not paying attention, cutting people off, and road rage is a huge issue and a great way to get into an accident. When people do things intentionally, like cutting people off, brake-checking, and more, it can cause fatal accidents to occur.

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving encompasses more than just texting, but also:

  • Talking on the phone
  • Finding entertainment (such as a playlist or video)
  • Eating
  • Applying makeup
  • Reading
  • Talking to someone in the backseat
  • Picking something up off the ground
  • And any other distractions that take the eyes, ears, or mind off the road

Drunk Driving

Drunk driving is incredibly dangerous, putting the lives of many people at risk. Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol can lead to impaired vision, poor reaction time, the inability to drive defensively, and poor critical thinking skills. All of these things can easily cause an accident to occur.

Can Other Parties Be Liable for Car Accidents?

Although most accidents occur because of human error, there are some circumstances in which human error may not be at play. In the case of a malfunction or defective part causing the accident, it may be the fault of a mechanic or manufacturing company. In these instances, you could file a lawsuit against the company for the damages that you incur.

However, if an accident occurs because of a defective part and that part has since been recalled, it may still be the fault of the driver for not having the defective part looked at and removed if necessary.

Third-party liability cases can be tricky, so it’s important to hire an attorney to ensure that nothing gets overlooked.

Are New Safety Features Helping to Prevent Human Error?

According to the NHTSA, newer cars are much safer than older cars because of the added safety features. Features like lane departure warnings, front brake assist, blindspot monitoring, and backup cameras help to prevent everyday accidents. While they don’t prevent accidents completely, they do help to prevent drivers from making common errors, such as forgetting to check their blindspots or not looking closely enough before backing up. These things can prevent accidents and fatalities, which is what’s truly important.

Contact an Experienced Car Accident Attorney

If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident because of someone else’s error, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages. Here at Jones Law Group, our compassionate staff has years of experience working on car accident cases, and our successful track record shows just how much we’ve been able to get our clients in compensation.

For more information or a free case evaluation, please contact us online or at 727-571-1333.

Heath Murphy

About the Author

Heath Murphy is a partner at Jones Law Group and focuses on personal injury law. He has been working as a lawyer for 18 years and routinely writes about auto accidents, wrongful death, and personal injury laws.

Read more: Heath’s Bio