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Causes & Injuries

Causes of Orlando Car Accidents

Why do so many accidents happen in Orlando? If you were to ask someone on the street, you’d likely get an answer about the weather or the aging population. But statistically, the majority of accidents happen on a clear, sunny day, and just under 13 percent of all traffic fatalities involved a driver 65 or older.

In actuality, the Florida Department of Transportation reported “Operated MV in Careless or Negligent Manner” as the number one contributing action leading up to an accident.

Forms of human error constitute all of the most common causes of Orlando car accidents:

  • Distracted driving: Florida recently enacted laws that restrict the use of handheld devices while operating motor vehicles. Specifically, the law prohibits drivers from texting and driving or from using handheld devices in school zones or work zones. Distracted driving claimed the lives of 3,450 people and injured another 391,000 in just one year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Examples of driving distractions include texting and other cell phone use, eating, drinking, visiting with other passengers in the car, and external distractions such as watching a previous accident scene instead of the road and traffic ahead.

  • Speeding: Speeding is involved in about 27 percent of the fatalities from car crashes in the United States, killing about 9,378 people per year. Speeding doesn’t just involve driving over the posted speed limit, it also includes going too fast for conditions. Drivers should lower their speed in rain, fog, or other times of low visibility or dangerous road conditions. Speeding increases the likelihood of an accident and being injured in an accident because it takes away some of the time that a driver needs to react to hazards in the road, increases the severity of the impact, and makes automobile protective devices such as seat belts and airbags less effective in a crash.

  • Impaired driving: Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol can affect a driver’s ability to concentrate, react, and make decisions. The CDC states that 29 people die in the United States each day due to motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver, meaning that impaired driving causes one death every 50 minutes. The cost of alcohol-related crashes to society is about $44 billion a year.

  • Driver fatigue: As reported by the National Safety Council, driving drowsy produces the same effects as driving while impaired by alcohol. A driver who has gone more than 20 hours without sleep will drive as poorly as a driver with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent. As the driver’s reaction times, ability to sustain attention, and awareness of hazards on the roadway all worsen with drowsiness, fatigued drivers become three times more likely to cause a car crash than well-rested drivers.

  • Tailgating: Tailgating is defined as a driver following the vehicle in front of him or her too closely. The law requires drivers to keep a safe distance between their vehicles and the vehicles in front of them. If the lead vehicle suddenly stops or slows, the following car may rear-end it. Rear-end accidents, caused by following too closely, are some of the most common of all traffic accidents, accounting for between 23 and 30 percent of all crashes. Tailgating deprives the driver in the following vehicle of the time needed to react to the lead vehicle’s sudden stop.

  • Failure to yield the right of way: In one recent year, failure to yield the right of was the primary cause of over 50,000 accidents in Florida, including 765 fatalities. Failure to yield the right of way most often happens at intersections when a driver runs a stop sign or red light or turns in front of another vehicle.

Common Injuries From Orlando Car Crashes

  • Broken bones: One of the most common car accident injuries that a person can suffer is broken bones due to sudden impact or twisting. The most common parts of the body to suffer fractures in car accidents include the arms and legs.

  • Traumatic brain injury: traumatic brain injury includes any injury that penetrates or fractures the skull, or that causes the brain to collide with the skull. More than half of all reported traumatic brain injuries are caused by car accidents.

  • Spinal cord injury: Spinal cord injuries from car accidents tend to be very serious, leading to a loss of sensation and function of the body below the area where the damage occurred, or even death. Spinal cord injuries result from damage to the spinal column, spinal cord, vertebrae, ligaments, or disc.

  • Internal injuries including internal bleeding or damage to the organs caused by the force of the accident, broken ribs, or the body striking objects during the crash.

  • Herniated disc: Also known as a “slipped disc,” a herniated disc occurs when the tough, outer fiber of the spinal discs becomes torn and allows the soft, jelly-like substance in the center of the disc to leak out.

  • Whiplash: Whiplash is a soft tissue neck injury that is caused by the forceful back and forth motion. Whiplash often presents with symptoms such as neck pain, stiffness, and headaches that typically start at the base of the skull. While most people find that their whiplash symptoms go away within a few weeks, the pain can linger for months or even years for some.

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