human error the key cause of auto accidents in NYC

With almost 280 million vehicles in active operation, the roads in the United States are among the busiest in the world. But this great volume of traffic has a downside. Close to 12 million vehicles were involved in collisions in 2018. An analysis of these auto accidents shows that human error is often the key cause and understanding these errors can help prevent them in the future.

US Car Accident Figures are Worrying

  • Close to 40,000 American citizens die in car accidents every year. Around 4 million people in America suffer injuries in car accidents that necessitate medical attention.
  • Data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Highway Loss Data Institute reports 33,654 fatal car crashes in 2018 that left 36,560 persons dead.
  • Statistics obtained in a study conducted by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) in 2016 showed that close to 96% of all accidents involving cars can be traced to a human error.

What are the Common Causes of Car Accidents in NYC

Auto accidents in New York City, like anywhere else in the country, can occur due to several reasons. The most common ones include:

  • The use of vehicles that are not road-worthy
  • Unsafe behavior of road users
  • Poor quality roads and lack of road maintenance
  • Inadequate enforcement of traffic laws

While all these factors may play a role in a car crash, it is a fact that human error that results in unsafe driving behavior is often a major contributor to accidents that were actually preventable. 

In fact, data put out by the NY Police Department in March 2019 shows that distracted driving was the most common cause of car accidents in New York. Any activity that causes a driver’s attention to wander away from driving is a distraction and the result is inattentiveness that could cause a serious accident.

What are the Types of Human Errors that Lead to Accidents?

Human errors that cause automobile accidents may originate from different sources. Here are some of the most critical ones:

Errors in Driving Performance

When a driver makes a mistake in the process of driving or maneuvering, it constitutes a performance error. Drivers may have noticed a hazardous situation and also decided how to handle it, but may fail in executing that decision. The most common performance errors include lack of control over the direction of the car’s motion and overcorrection. When the driver cannot control their car’s movement within their lane, it can lead to a dangerous crash. Those who overcompensate when executing a maneuver are also at greater risk for causing a crash.

Errors of Recognition

When a car driver fails to view, notice, or recognize any hazard in the road conditions, they are very likely to cause an accident. Drivers who text, speak or fiddle with their phones while driving are an especially great risk to the safety of all road users. Poor weather conditions such as rain, snow or fog could also restrict a driver’s ability to recognize signs of danger.

Errors of Decision Making

In certain cases, drivers may recognize the hazardous condition but fail to make the right decision about how to tackle it. Drivers may miscalculate the distance between their car and other vehicles on the road. They may fail to anticipate the actions of the other drivers around them. Drivers often do not yield the right-of-way. A driver may choose to speed or undertake a particular maneuver to sort the problem but if this decision is erroneous, it may cause even greater damage.

Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol

Drunk driving is a major problem that refuses to go away despite the measures undertaken to educate drivers on the ill effects of driving under the influence of alcohol. Alcohol interferes with a driver’s ability to recognize danger, make split-second decisions and execute them, resulting in a huge danger to everyone on the road. Data from the NHTSA shows that every day in the United States, close to 30 persons die in crashes caused by drunk driving.

Distracted Driving

With everyone feeling the constant urge to stay connected, cell phones have become the major culprit responsible for distracted driving. Drivers who glance at their phones to text or check their social media feeds are a huge risk to everyone on the road. Persons who use their phone’s GPS system to navigate to an address are also likely to indulge in distracted driving and making sudden turns without adequate signaling can be another cause of auto accidents.

Driving When Fatigued

Not all persons get the recommended eight hours of sleep every night and quite a few people suffer from poor quality sleep. The result is motorists driving vehicles despite suffering fatigue. Persons who are drowsy behind the wheel are at great risk of causing collisions, running into pedestrians or bicyclists, and even ramming into homes. Commercial truck drivers who rush to meet unrealistic delivery schedules set by their employers drive long hours without sufficient rest and when they cause accidents, the results are often like to be fatal or life-threatening.

Reckless Driving

Some drivers resort to speeding, running stop signs, passing illegally, and making dangerous maneuvers. Others may weave in and out of lanes or make an illegal turn or tailgate other vehicles on the road. Reckless driving behavior is a key reason motor vehicle accidents occur at the current rates. These accidents can typically cause catastrophic injuries, and the victim may be eligible to receive substantial personal injury damages.

Role of a Third Party in NYC Car Accidents

Not all human errors that lead to car accidents in New York City can be attributed to the drivers of the vehicles involved in the crash. An accident caused due to poor road conditions is not the drivers’ fault; in such cases, the government entity responsible for the road’s construction and maintenance can be liable for the accident.

If a vehicle crashes due to a mechanical fault such as a failure of the braking system or a tire blowout, the fault could be attributed to the manufacturer of the vehicle or the agency responsible for its maintenance.

A vehicle owner who allows an unfit driver to handle their vehicle may also be liable for a crash. If a company-owned vehicle is driven by a driver without adequate training, the company could be liable for the accident. Passengers who distract the driver of the vehicle in which they are traveling may also be responsible for an auto accident. In cases of drunk driving, the establishment that served alcohol to the errant driver can be considered partly responsible for the accident.

Generally, the greater the number of persons who may have contributed to a crash, the more complicated are the legal implications of the case. If you have been involved in such a car accident in New York, it is important you engage the services of a professional and experienced auto accident attorney.

Concept of Negligence and its Impact on Personal Injury Lawsuits

Any person who drives owes a ‘duty of care’ to other persons using the road. When a vehicle is operated in a manner that makes it obvious the driver does not care for others, the driver is said to have breached this duty of care and their actions are termed negligent. If the crash that results due to a driver’s negligence leads to another person being injured, the driver is liable for legal action.

If you or a loved one has been hurt in a car accident in New York, you will need to prove that your injuries were caused due to the negligence of another party. Using investigational data, medical reports, and financial statements, you will have to show that you suffered personal losses for no fault of your own, for which you deserve compensation.

Get in Touch with a Competent NYC Auto Accident Lawyer

Being injured in an auto accident in New York can be a devastating experience. Not only do you have to undergo physical pain and suffering, but you also sustain huge economic loss to meet the expenses of medical treatment, therapy, assistance with routine chores.

When you are injured and have to take time away from work, it also affects your income and this only adds to the financial burden. At Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP, we understand how difficult it can be to deal with such circumstances and our attorneys will do all they can to help you get the compensation that you rightfully deserve.

We realize how intimidating it can be for an accident victim to have to deal on their own with the insurance adjusters or the legal representatives of the party at fault. Our personal injury attorneys have years of experience with handling car accidents in New York and we have helped hundreds of clients win the compensation to which they are legally entitled.

Whether it is to negotiate with the insurance company or to take your case to trial, we can manage the legal aspects of your case while you focus your energy on recovering your health. Call Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP today at 212-344-1000 or contact us online for a free case evaluation.


122 East 42nd Street Suite 3800
New York, NY 10168

Tel: 212-LAWYERS

Tel: 212-697-9280



8900 Sutphin Blvd Suite 501
Queens, NY 11435

Tel: (718) 399-3100

*By Appointment Only



220-226 E 161st Street
The Bronx, NY 10451

Tel: (212) 344-1000

*By Appointment Only



1002 Dean St
Brooklyn, NY 11238

Tel: (516) 410-4445

*By Appointment Only