CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --
The four most common causes of fatal accidents are driving without a seat belt, falling asleep at the wheel, driving too fast for conditions, and drinking and driving.
Every year Marines, sailors, family members and friends are killed or injured because they did not wear their seat belt. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that seat belts save 9,500 lives in the United States each year, according to their website. They also estimate that an additional 9,000 lives would be saved and 160,000 nonfatal injuries would be prevented each year if all motor vehicle occupants ages 8 years and older properly used restraint devices at all times.
More than 100,000 people are killed or injured each year in crashes attributed to a driver asleep at the wheel or driving while severely drowsy, according to the NHTSA.
According to the American Automobile Association’s website, sleep-related crashes commonly occur at night or in mid-afternoon when people have a natural propensity to be asleep. Sleep-related crashes are likely to involve a single vehicle running off the road. These crashes are more likely to result in serious injuries.
Some ways to prevent drowsy driving include:
• Getting plenty of good, quality sleep
• Avoid driving between midnight and 6 a.m.; take a break every two hours; and, if possible, drive with someone else who is awake in the passenger seat.
• If signs of fatigue begin to show, drive to a well-lit area to take a short nap
Other common causes of accidents are speeding and driving under the influence.
Speed reduces the amount of available time needed to avoid a crash, increases the likelihood of crashing and increases the severity of a crash once it occurs. Drivers should remember that there is a reason for posted speed limits, according to the California Department of Motor Vehicles’ website. The roadways are a dangerous place, and the speed limits are designed to protect everyone.
The DUI penalties in California include fines, court costs, probation, jail time, alcohol treatment programs, and the possibility of being required to have an ignition interlock device installed in the car. The penalties will depend on how a DUI is being charged, how many prior convictions a defendant has and other circumstances.
For more information on causes of fatal accidents review the Marine Corps Traffic Safety Program (MCO 5100.19F) or go to these websites: