What Are the Causes of Car Accidents in Ohio? | Colombo Law

While there are many different types of car accidents, from rear-ends to sideswipes, one thing is true of nearly all of them: most crashes are the result of avoidable driver error. For the tens of thousands of Franklin County residents involved in accidents every year, this can be an extremely frustrating – if not heartbreaking – fact.

A few of the facts about Franklin County accidents in 2020 from the Ohio Department of Public Safety (from January 1 to December 26):

  • There were 20,988 vehicle accidents in 2020.
  • Of those, 542 (2.5 percent) led to suspected serious injury while 4,103 (nearly 20 percent) led to suspected minor injury.
  • 115 (0.5 percent) were fatal.

Each of these accidents, particularly those involving serious injury and death, causes loss, pain, and trauma for the accident victims, in many cases due to no fault of their own. When this happens, accident victims have the right to pursue compensation for damages, including their medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.

If you have been injured in a crash in or around Columbus, an experienced car accident lawyer can help. Contact Colombo Law for a free case review.


Speeding is not only dangerous, it’s also not worth it. In most cases, the little time saved through speeding pales in comparison to the potential damage done by the act.

Nevertheless, speeding was listed as a factor in 2,209 crashes in Franklin County in 2020 (over 10 percent of all crashes), leading to 21 fatal accidents and 123 accidents involving suspected serious injury. While this is certainly a significant percentage, it is much lower than the 26 percent recorded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) from a nationwide analysis.

It is also important to consider that there are often multiple causes of accidents. For example, of the 2,209 speed-related crashes throughout the year, alcohol was also a factor in 201 of these.

Running Red Lights and Stop Signs

Sometimes the simplest traffic laws are also the ones most neglected, leading to far more accidents than they should. While the Ohio Department of Public Safety does not specify which accidents involved running a red light or stop sign, these accidents fall under “Intersection or approach-related” accidents, of which there were 7,545 in 2020.

Unfortunately, these types of accidents are often caused by distracted or impaired driving, both of which we take a closer look at below.

Reckless Driving

Reckless or aggressive driving can include many types of negligent driving behaviors, including speeding, tailgating, swerving in and out of traffic, and more. Unfortunately, reckless driving is one of the leading causes of fatal accidents. The Insurance Information Institute reports that reckless driving was responsible for more than half of all fatal accidents that occurred between 2003 and 2007 in the United States.

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is both one of the most dangerous causes of accidents and one of the easiest for drivers to participate in. We’re so used to checking our phones regularly, responding immediately to notifications, and getting quick answers to our questions that it can be easy for drivers to excuse this behavior.

Nevertheless, according to the NHTSA, distracted driving led to 400,000 injuries and 2,841 fatalities in 2018 alone.

While this is certainly a national problem, it also hits close to home. As of late December 2020, the Ohio State Highway Patrol recorded 492 distracted driving violations. While this is a promising decrease from the 737 recorded in 2019, each instance of irresponsible distracted driving has the potential to seriously injure – or kill – innocent victims.

Simply put, distracted driving is inexcusable, no matter how tempting.


Tailgating is a type of reckless driving that, like speeding, is far more dangerous than it is practical. In many cases, aggressive drivers tailgate to pressure cars in front of them to move out of the way. But the limited space this leaves doesn’t give the driver in back time to stop if the driver in front must quickly apply their brakes.

A general rule of thumb is that you should leave a car-length of space for every 10 mph you are traveling (so, for example, six car-lengths of space when traveling at 60 mph). Unfortunately, too many drivers lose their patience and neglect leaving this space, and it leads to many avoidable accidents.

This is all too common in Ohio, which averages 22 tailgating citations per 10,000 motorists. While this isn’t as high as some states, it is still much higher than the national average of 14.


Drowsy driving is not unlike distracted driving in that drivers sometimes assume that they can maintain control and avoid an accident. It is also not unlike drunk driving, where drivers do not have complete control of their faculties.

Because of this, accidents involving fatigue tend to be some of the most serious. They often happen on high-speed roads where a driver is traveling in a straight line for some time.

Worst of all, fatigued driving is more common than you might think. In 2017 nationwide, there were approximately 50,000 people injured and 800 deaths related to drowsy driving, according to the NHTSA.

Driving Under the Influence

When it comes to the most dangerous cause of car accidents, none is as serious as alcohol-related accidents. In 2020, there were 1,053 accidents deemed alcohol-related in Franklin Country. Of these drunk driving accidents, 26 were fatal, leading to 28 deaths, while 404 led to injuries.

This means that while alcohol-related accidents accounted for just over 5% of total accidents, they accounted for nearly 23% of crash fatalities.

While this is a horrific number, it is lower than the 28% seen in Ohio as a whole, which is a slight decrease from 2019. Nevertheless, Ohio has a higher percentage of alcohol-related fatalities than our neighbors in Indiana, Michigan, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania.

Contact a Car Accident Lawyer in Columbus Today

Each of these causes of accidents can lead to serious, traumatic injuries, and the saddest part about them is that they are each avoidable. Nevertheless, drivers act irresponsibly every day, putting their own lives – and the lives of those on the roads around them – in danger.

At Colombo Law, we are here to hold careless drivers accountable. Our attorneys have extensive experience handling a wide variety of vehicle accident claims, achieving significant verdicts and settlements on behalf of our clients.

Please call Colombo Law at (614) 362-7000 today for a free consultation. Our car accident lawyers serve clients in and around Columbus and other areas of Ohio.

by Colombo Law
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