While not yielding the right of way on occasion may seem like standard behavior for some drivers, it is actually the primary cause of fatal traffic collisions in Washington. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration keeps records of all known fatal crashes involving vehicle occupants as well as pedestrians. The Auto Insurance Center has recently used that agency’s Fatal Accident Reporting System data from 2009 to 2013 to find the primary causes of fatal crashes nationwide.
While Washington’s problem seems to be the right of way, in neighboring Oregon and Idaho, drivers’ failure to remain in their lanes leads to the most fatal crashes. The compiled data also allowed for the examination of other factors, such as the prevalence of fatal intoxicated driving crashes in each state. Such crashes are more common in states with large rural areas where drivers have less access to public transportation. Rural areas are also more likely to have more fatal crashes caused by speeding due to long stretches of road with little traffic.
Weather also plays a role, and Washington drivers are more likely to have a fatal crash in the rain than in the snow, which may be due to the frequency of the rain during the winter months. However, snow is far more likely to lead to a fatal crash than fog, and sleet is a much greater danger for drivers and pedestrians than crosswinds.
Whether acting negligently or failing to adjust to road conditions, drivers who fail to operate their vehicles properly can cause significant harm to others. Crash victims who suffered auto injuries or their surviving family members in the case of fatal accidents could choose to hold the responsible parties accountable. This may be done by filing a personal injury or a wrongful death lawsuit naming the at-fault driver as the defendant.