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The Internet is full of lists of the most common causes of car accidents. It seems they all say something different. I think the real answer to what causes the most car accidents is that it’s complicated, but I’m an attorney so that might be my answer to everything.
However, there is a grain of truth. The causes of car accidents are varied and they change from state to state. Since I am a geek, and lover of spreadsheets I searched out the most accurate and methodically sound data I could find.
The National Highway Safety Administration tracks car accidents that result in death through their Fatality Analysis Reporting System. They use the data to send reports to Congress. The data is also analyzed by the Auto Insurance Center, an auto insurance sales and news site. The numbers cited in the following article are taken from the Auto Insurance Center. Each state’s ranking in any particular category is based on car accident fatalities per 100,000 residents.
The NHTSA reports that in 2015 at least one in four of all car accidents in the United States was caused by cell phone use. And the number of phone-related accidents is steadily increasing.
The Auto Insurance Center tracked Instagram users who posted pictures while driving using driving-related hashtags such as #DrivingSelfie. The number of people taking pictures and posting them to Instagram while operating a vehicle was astounding. In 2016, the Auto Insurance Center found more than 71,000 posts just using hashtag searches.
According to the NHTSA, Montana ranks first in the nation for traffic fatalities caused by careless and reckless driving from 2005 to 2015. The most common behavior cited in crash deaths in Montana was lack of seatbelt use along with speeding and drinking alcohol
When it comes to drunk driving Montana was second behind Wyoming for the most traffic fatalities per capita due to driving under the influence. The writers of the study cited Montana’s lenient alcohol laws and a strong social trend of drinking and driving. However, data is only available until 2015, and new laws have taken effect.
Montana also comes in second worst in the nation behind Wyoming for traffic fatalities caused by speeding and racing. In fact, Montana has the seen a staggering increase in the number of fatalities caused by speeding between 2014 and 2015. The study did not offer a cause for this increase.
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