Understanding The Causes of Auto Accidents in Washington, D.C.

A car crash is never an accident - it is always the result of a driver violating the safety rules of the road. In a heavily populated area such as Washington, D.C., an accident is always likely on the Beltway, on 495, or even in Chinatown where everyone is distracted. Here are the three most common causes of accident in the DC metro area. 

The Three Most Common Causes of D.C. Car Accidents

1. Reckless and Aggressive Driving

D.C. Law considers reckless and aggressive driving to be when "a person drives a vehicle...carelessly and heedlessly in willful or wanton disregard for the rights or safety of others, or without due caution and circumspection and at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger or be likely to endanger a person or property". 

The following actions are considered reckless and could result in a serious accident and injuries: 

  • Excessive speeding
  • Improper or illegal passing
  • Improper or excessive lane changing
  • Failing to signal intent when turning or changing lanes
  • Running red lights or disobeying traffic signals
  • Tailgating or other aggressive driving behaviors
  • Failing to yield

If you are the victim of a reckless driver the first thing you need to do is call an ambulance, and then the police. Reckless driving and motor vehicle accidents can affect a person in numerous ways. Sometimes, a person may suffer trauma from the accident which results in severe bodily harm. It is possible for the victim or the reckless driver to experience psychological consequences as well. You need to have the presence of medical and police professionals who are able to capture the details of what happened on your behalf. Especially if you have serious injuries, you need medical records and a police report to back up your insurance claim against the reckless driver's car insurance company.

2. Driving While Under The Influence

Every day, about 28 people in the United States die in drug or alcohol related crashes — that's one person every 52 minutes. Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol reduces the function of the brain, impairs thinking, reasoning and muscle coordination - all of which are essential to driving a car safely.

In the District of Columbia it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol content of .08 of higher, but any percentage of alcohol in a driver's system can impair their driving. In 2018, there were over 1,800 people killed in alcohol related accidents where the driver's blood alcohol content was lower than the legal limit - that accounts for more than one third of all car accident fatalities. 

Driving while under the influence of drugs such as marjuana is just as bad. While the District of Columbia has legalized the possession of certain quantities of marijuana, it is illegal to smoke or otherwise consume marijuana in a vehicle. A recent report from The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) showed that drug impaired driving has increased over the past couple of years. This can be just as dangerous as drunk driving as marijuana impairs motor skills, lane tracking, and cognitive functions. 

3. Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is when a driver diverts attention from driving safely to any other activity. This can include texting or calling on your phone; eating or drinking; or even talking to passengers in the car. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, accident involving at least one distracted driver accounted for over eight percent of total crash fatalities in 2019. 

Usage of cellular phones is the main cause of disracted driving. Without maintaining their full attention to the road, a driver using their cell phone quadruples their risk of being in an auto accident. Despite this known risk, it is estimated that more than 85% of drivers use their cell phones while on the road. 

You Need An Experienced Car Accident Attorney After A Car Crash in D.C.

After a car accident, you will have incurred numerous unexpected expenses such as car repairs, doctor’s office visits, or missing work. Our experienced attorneys will work to make sure that your settlement accounts for all of these factors, along with compensation for your suffering and other intangible effects of the accident. Even if you don’t file a lawsuit, it is important to have an experience auto accident attorney available to help you navigate the often complicated process of reaching a settlement agreement, so don't hesitate to call us today at 202-393-3320. 

Whether you are hoping to file suit, reach a fair settlement, or simply would like more information about the work that lawyers like us do to help car accident victims, we would be happy to help you get started. We have years of experience dealing with car accident cases and are happy to share our knowledge with you at no obligation to you – in fact, we don’t get paid unless we make a recovery on your behalf. 

Frank R. Kearney, Attorney-at-Law
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Experienced DC Workers' Comp, Long Term Disability & Accident Lawyer