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Human Error Remains a Thorny Road Safety Issue

The number of road users killed in motor vehicle accidents in Kentucky and around the country increased alarmingly in 2015 and 2016. Both government agencies and road safety groups say that human error is largely to blame. While automobile safety features and systems have improved significantly in recent years and traffic planners have worked to get rid of accident black spots, there are still approximately 6 million road crashes each year in the United States.

Analyzing the causes of car accidents reveals that more than one in five fatal crashes is caused by fatigued motorists who fell asleep behind the wheel. The alarming rise in drowsy driving accidents is often blamed on the busy schedules that many Americans now keep. Furthermore, many modern vehicles are so well engineered that they isolate drivers from the road. Individuals also tend to overestimate their driving skills and ability to reach destinations safely.

Overconfidence is also often a factor in the 11 percent of accidents each year that are caused by drivers who lost control of their vehicles. Modern cars, pickup trucks and SUVs are usually far more capable than the individuals driving them, and this leads motorists to drive at unsafe speeds on wet or icy roads, enter corners too quickly and fail to anticipate the actions of other road users. Most road safety experts concede that only fully autonomous vehicles have the potential to completely eliminate human error.

In addition to state-of-the-art safety features, most modern vehicles feature sophisticated electronics systems that monitor performance and driver behavior. When police crash investigations fail to reach firm conclusions, personal injury attorneys may study this data to find evidence that can be used to establish negligence in car accident lawsuits.