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By E. Drew Nelson, Attorney

Whether we are drivers or passengers, most of us travel in vehicles on the roads in North Carolina every day. Unfortunately, each day a percentage of those vehicles will be involved in a crash. In 2012 (the most recently published statistics ), there were 213,605 crashes reported in the state. In those crashes, 110,406 people were injured and 1,262 were killed (including 34 in Davidson County and 42 in Guilford County).

The Top 3 Causes

Every time the police file a crash report, it notes any known circumstance that contributed to the accident. This includes such things as alcohol or drug use, speeding, mechanical problems, weather conditions, etc. Each crash may have more than one contributing circumstance, for example, a speeding driver may also be distracted.

Here are the top three causes of crashes in North Carolina:

#1 Speed: 32% of all crashes involved vehicles driving faster than they should have. This includes not only exceeding the posted speed limit, but also driving too fast for conditions and failure to reduce speed when necessary (the cause of many rear-end collisions). Speed-related accidents were responsible for 31.6% of fatalities.

#2 Lane Departure: 24.3% of crashes involved vehicles changing lanes improperly, crossing the center line, overcorrecting, etc.

#3 Distracted Driving: 23.2% of crashes involved drivers who were distracted. Distractions include anything that takes your attention away from driving, including texting, talking on the phone, eating or drinking, adjusting the radio or GPS, talking with passengers, etc.

While not in the top three, alcohol and drug related crashes account for 5.3% of auto accidents and a frightening 33.8% of fatalities. We urge everyone to use a designated driver or call a cab. Don’t risk driving while impaired!

If you have been seriously injured or a loved one has died in an auto accident which was the fault of another person, you should speak with an injury attorney to learn your rights.