Understanding the crash factors that arise specifically in Kansas City can reduce your chances of becoming a victim. A firm grasp on this information can also clarify who may be legally responsible for your recent accident. Common risk factors typically relate to either driver behavior or roadway conditions. The Kansas City Regional Transportation Safety Blueprint presents an in-depth study of the factors involved in local car accidents from 2013 to 2017.
Top 10 Crash Factors in Kansas City
According to the blueprint, these are the 10 most common crash factors, and the corresponding number of related injuries and fatalities:
Lane departure: 68.8% of total crashes, 3,547 serious injuries, 725 deaths.
Fixed object: 50.7% of total crashes, 2,763 serious injuries, 534 deaths.
Unrestrained occupants: 41.3% of total crashes, 2,432 serious injuries, 435 deaths.
Aggressive driving: 40.9% of total crashes, 1,828 serious injuries, 431 deaths.
Young motorists: 32.7% of total crashes, 3,114 serious injuries, 345 deaths.
Impaired driving: 30.5% of total crashes, 1,500 serious injuries, 321 deaths.
Horizontal curves: 23.3% of total crashes, 1,384 serious injuries, 246 deaths.
Intersections: 20.9% of total crashes, 524 serious injuries, 220 deaths.
Unlicensed drivers: 20.5% of total crashes, 1,137 serious injuries, 216 deaths.
There may be more than one factor involved in any given collision. For example, a reckless driver may be speeding, but the design of the roadway made it difficult to stay in the lane on a curve. Fault for an accident in this case may fall on both the driver and the designers of the roadway. Understanding the proximate cause(s) of your crash, and who may be liable for resulting injuries, can be difficult. It may require an in-depth investigation of your accident with help from an experienced Kansas City car accident lawyer.
Kansas & Missouri Fatalities by Crash Type (2016)
Here is some in-depth information about the most common factors involved in KC car accidents:
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) names distracted driving one of the most dangerous habits in America. Distracted driving killed at least 3,477 people in the country in 2015. Texting and driving is the deadliest form of distraction, as it hits all three categories: manual, visual, and cognitive.
In Kansas City, there is an average of 33 fatalities and 366 serious injuries per year due to distracted driving. Missouri has a greater rate of injuries and deaths relating to distracted driving than Kansas.
Drinking and Driving
About 31% of all motor vehicle deaths in the KC region involved impaired drivers. An “impaired” driver is one with a blood alcohol concentration level at or above the legal limit of 0.08%. Driving under the influence of drugs is also a fatal mistake and a crime. One in 10 teenage drivers in Kansas City report driving under the influence of alcohol. After a crash involving an impaired driver, victims may file civil charges during an ongoing criminal case. The driver will likely be guilty of negligence per se, or “obvious” negligence from breaking the law.
Aggressive driving is a malicious action on the part of a driver that involves a moving traffic offense and endangers the lives or properties of others. Examples include following too closely (tailgating), speeding, and weaving through traffic. About 33% of all injurious and fatal crashes in KC involved aggressive driving. Jackson County, Missouri had the highest rates of aggressive driving from 2008 to 2012. Safety strategies to prevent this risk include education and awareness.
Eliminating these three issues could save thousands of lives every year. Unfortunately, these problems still persist in Missouri and Kansas.
If you or someone you love suffered serious injuries or died in a car accident involving one of the above-mentioned factors, you have rights. You likely have grounds for a lawsuit. You could sue another driver, vehicle part manufacturer, roadway designer, or third party.
Common Types of Collisions in Kansas City
The type of accident you were in can reveal important information about the potential causes and liable parties. Rear-end collisions, for example, signal that the offending party was following too closely or not paying enough attention to the road. A head-on collision could point to a driver who was under the influence or who fell asleep behind the wheel. There are two main types of collisions we would like to bring attention to: head-on collisions and intersection crashes.
A head-on collision occurs when one vehicle crosses a median or center line and collides with an oncoming vehicle. The offending driver may travel the wrong way in traffic on purpose, as if to make a pass, or inadvertently due to distraction or another dangerous behavior. Head-on collisions are often more severe than other crash types.
In Kansas City, 12% of all fatal accidents were head-on collisions from 2008 to 2012. Missouri reported more head-on collisions resulting in injuries and fatalities than Kansas every year during this period, except in 2012 when both states reported 12 fatal head-on collisions.
Intersection crashes are those that occur at the junction where two or more roads cross. Intersections pose high risks for pedestrian and bicycle collisions. There are multiple different opportunities for a collision at any typical four-way intersection.
Researchers recorded an average of 553 serious injuries and 44 deaths per year in intersection crashes in Kansas City. These collisions can occur at signalized and non-signalized intersections, although the latter is more dangerous for drivers and pedestrians. Aside from head-on and intersection collisions, other common accident types include fixed object collisions, horizontal curve crashes, and lane departure crashes.