Drivers are responsible for staying alert and driving safely every time they get behind the wheel. When drivers act negligently, they place other motorists, their passengers, motorcyclists, and pedestrians at risk of serious injury or death. In Kansas, there are a number of negligent driving behaviors that are frequently cited as a contributing cause of motor vehicle accidents.
High-Risk Behaviors on the Road
Data published by the Kansas Department of Transportation shows a significant number of motor vehicle accidents in 2017 involved negligent driving behaviors. General inattention, or distracted driving, was a factor in 13,908 accidents. These accidents accounted for 20.8% of all motor vehicle accidents that year. Distracted driving includes negligent behaviors including eating, texting, talking, adjusting controls, or engaging in other activities that take the driver's focus away from operating the vehicle.
Right of way violations were a factor in 8,707, or 13% of all accidents. Failure to yield at intersections can result in sideswipe, head-on, or t-bone accidents which can cause severe personal injuries or wrongful deaths. Similarly, improper lane changes were a factor in 2,125, or 3.2% of all motor vehicle accidents.
Following too closely is another common cause of motor vehicle accidents in Kansas. KDOT records show that in 2017, 5,648 accidents, or 8.4% of collisions involved drivers who were tailgating the vehicle in front of them.
While DUI accidents in Kansas have declined significantly over the past decade, there were still 1,918 accidents involving drunk drivers in 2017. Nationwide, NHTSA data showed that 10,874 people died in drunk driving accidents in 2017. That same year, 90 of these fatalities, and a further 1,023 injuries were recorded in Kansas.
Failure to obey posted signs, signals, or road markings was a factor in 1,906, or 2.9% of accidents. These behaviors include running stop signs, failing to slow down in work zones, passing on the solid white line, etc.
Driving Appropriately for Weather Conditions
In addition to following the rules of the road, drivers in Kansas are also responsible for adhering to the rules of Mother Nature. When road conditions are wet, icy, slushy, or snowy, drivers are required to slow down. Even so, in 2017 3,476 or 5.2% of all accidents involved motorists who were driving too fast for prevailing road conditions. Across Kansas in 2017, wet roads were factors in 942 accidents, ice and slush were involved in 351 accidents, and snow was a factor in 241 accidents. These conditions always pose a risk, but that risk is enhanced when motorists fail to adjust their driving behaviors to compensate for diminished visibility and traction.
Defensive Driving Reduces Accident Risk
Motorists should remain alert for negligent driving behaviors around them at all times. Whether it happens on a congested road or a rural highway, motorists should strive to keep themselves at a considerable distance from drivers whose actions place them in danger. Closely monitoring the actions of nearby motorists can help you take evasive actions including slowing down or pulling off the road to avoid a collision. Staying alert does not guarantee safety, but it can help you anticipate danger and take protective steps so that you can reach your destination without harm.
Call in the Bull when negligent driving causes personal injuries or a wrongful death in Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Nebraska, or Missouri. Call us at 1-800-241-BRAD, or call us on or local line at 316-684-4400 and a car accident attorney will help you understand your legal options. You can always reach Brad Pistotnik on his cell at 316-706-5020. You can call Tony Atterbury on his cell at 316-617-9237. You can call from Western Kansas at 620-THE-BULL.