We recently posted a series about several motor vehicle technologies that are now, and will be in the future, helping to avoid accidents. These technologies provide information to drivers about potential dangers and can even control the vehicle to avoid a crash and injury. Some technologies are being developed based on the data that has been collected over the past decade about why car and truck crashes happen in the first place. There are varied circumstances that can be involved in a vehicle crash, and particularly a multiple vehicle crash. While we wait for these technologies to become more standard in our vehicles, we hope readers will be mindful of the things they can do to help avoid accidents.
The federal government has engaged in several studies to determine what happens just before a collision and to identify the critical reasons for motor vehicle collisions. In a large National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Survey (NMVCCS) which took place over a two-year period, data was collected about factors leading up to collisions. The study looked at what the experts called the “critical reason” or the last link in the chain that results in a crash. The study was not assigning fault, but rather looking at the final snapshot before an accident. Many factors can lead to an accident and the “critical reason” is not the same as who is at fault for the event. Literally millions of incidents were studied and experts found that the critical reason or the final piece of the “crash causal chain” turned out to be what the driver did or did not do in response to the situation.