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National study looks at fatal accident causes

In South Carolina and across the U.S., the most common cause of fatal car accidents is a driver's failure to stay in the proper lane. A study conducted by the Auto Insurance Center collected data on fatal U.S. car wrecks from 2009 to 2013.

The research looked at uncontrollable issues, such as the weather, to determine how factors like snow, ice, rain, fog and wind contributed to accidents that resulted in deaths. South Carolina drivers were shown to be impacted by sleet, fog and rain. Most of the causes, however, were related to driver actions and behavior. The data showed that fatalities as the result of a drunk driver were more likely to occur in rural areas. This could be because taxis and public transportation are not as commonly available as alternatives to getting behind the wheel when a driver is intoxicated.

Speeding was another controllable item that was analyzed by the researchers. Speeding was less common in urban areas than in rural areas because the congestion common in urban areas often slows drivers down. South Carolina was in the top five states affected by road rage, improper lane changes and failure to yield the right of way.

The study, which used data accumulated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Fatal Accident Reporting System, may help shed light on the causes of fatal car accidents in each of the states, but it did not look at what can be done to prevent future fatal wrecks. When a person has been injured or a family member has been killed in a wreck, an attorney may be able to present options for how the person or the family can be compensated for damages like pain and suffering or lost wages while the injured person is out of work or not able to return to work.

Source: Business Insider, "This map shows what causes the most fatal car crashes in each US state," Matthew Speiser, May 28, 2015

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