What causes traffic accidents?

Traffic accidents are a major cause of death in the world, but often deeply misunderstood.

Some stats pony to driver error, others point to drinking and driving, texting or new drivers as the cause of death.  How do driving accidents actually break down?

Causes of Crash

One reason it's hard to tell is that lack of consistent data.  Luckily, a few landmark studies can help.  NMVCCS investigated a total of 6,950 crashes during the 3-year period from January 2005 to December 2007 - creating one of the most comprehensive causation of studies of accidents ever.

93% of accidents studies were caused by driver error.

Among these driver-caused related accidents, most often a misjudgment of speed or danger leads to accidents

Drinking and Driving

The 2005-2007 study did not attribute accidents to drunk driving.  However, looking at other studies, 7% of all traffic accidents involve alcohol use.  Due to the high speeds that these accidents occur, 31% of all traffic-related deaths in the US are due to alcohol-impaired drivers


An estimated 5% of crashes involve texting, while 21% involve drivers talking on handheld or hands-free cell phones.  This is up from 2007, where 18% of accidents involved some sort of interior distraction, most frequently phone use.


Among other associated factors, fatigued drivers were twice as likely to make performance errors as compared to drivers who were not fatigued.  

While drunk driving and texting gets most of the attention - we strongly feel that an underserved problem is addressing the limited information & attention all drivers have.    With the use cases we already cover, we believe we can stop over 50% of the accidents today

A simple heads up can go a long way!

A serious problem: traffic accidents

There are few global problems as big as auto accidents.

Have you ever looked at the 10 causes of death in the world?  9/10 are medical related.  Only 1 is man made:  Auto Accidents.

Data Source: World Health Organization (WHO 2014)

Data Source: World Health Organization (WHO 2014)

To put this context, already more people die in road accidents that war and malaria combined. By 2030, the WHO expects road accidents to be the 5th leading cause of death - outranking diabetes, HIV/AIDS, and hypertensive heart disease. 

Car crashes in the US continue to be the leading cause of deaths for children 1-12.  Under 25, it continues to be the second cause of death only below suicide.

And the costs are staggering.  In the US alone, the CDC estimates the cost of productivity loss and medical expenses to be $99B.  

This is a real problem.  Yet, we as a society are oddly complacent.  Few people seem to focus on it. In the US, we spend $30B in AIDS/HIV related research, but just $851M on auto safety related research.

At Signal, our mission is to eliminate traffic accidents.  We see the problem, we know the pain, and we believe we have a solution that can quickly help.