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NHTSA: Human error to blame in 94 percent of crashes

We often discuss the many different efforts and programs that contribute to motor vehicle safety. We talk about safety features designed for our cars, traffic laws, product safety and graduated licensing programs, all of which are in place to keep motorists safe.

Unfortunately, despite all the programs, products and promotions that exist, car accidents still happen. In fact, they are happening more often than in previous years. The driving force behind this increase in motor vehicle accidents, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, is drivers.

NHTSA recently reported that there were more than 26,000 motor vehicle fatalities in the first nine months of last year. During that same time period in 2014, the number was 9.3 percent lower.

This is a troubling statistic not only because of the devastating number of deaths but also because of the fact that it is the first increase in fatal crashes reported in years.

According to the study, the majority of these crashes were caused by human error. Tens of thousands of people died in accidents that were caused, at least in part, because of a person’s mistake or bad decision.

What this tells us is that they could have been prevented. Drivers could have chosen to find a ride home instead of driving drunk; they could have decided to wait to check their emails until they got home; they could have taken a deep breath and slowed down instead of tearing through traffic and following others too closely.

The fact that human error is the cause of so many accidents is certainly upsetting. The NHTSA says it plans to address the issue by taking on new initiatives and addressing persistent unsafe driving habits.

Sadly, despite these and other efforts to improve traffic safety, there are still individuals hurt and killed by unsafe drivers every day. These victims and their families have the right to hold the person responsible for an accident accountable.

While we cannot stop every driver from making a mistake or dangerous decision behind the wheel, we can hold them liable for damages and send a strong reminder that such actions have consequences.