January 5, 2022 | Mark Paradies

Is Human Error the Cause of 94% of Vehicle Accidents? Would Automation Stop These Crashes?

The Myth of Human Error as a Cause

Did human error cause 94% of the auto fatalities last year? In February of 2015, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration published “Critical Reasons for Crashes Investigated in the National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Survey.” It listed “Drivers” in the table below as the critical reason for the cause of crashes.

These driver critical reasons are broken down into five other categories in the table below…

The article says:

However, in none of these cases was the assignment intended to blame the driver for causing the crash.


Unfortunately, calling something a “Performance Error” or a “Decision Error” certainly sounds like blame.

Looking at these critical errors, one finds that this type of categorization leads to people thinking:

If only those drivers were better, 94% of these accidents would stop.

In a section of the NHTSA website about vehicle automation, they say:

The safety benefits of automated vehicles are paramount. Automated vehicles’ potential to save lives and reduce injuries is rooted in one critical and tragic fact: 94% of serious crashes are due to human error. 


Is this true? Is human error the cause of 94% of accidents? Would automation stop these accidents?

Or is “human error” as a cause a fallacy? Look at the article at this link below and see what you think…

Then read these two articles if you think that automation is the solution to human error…

After reading these articles, consider this: the HUMAN is often used as the backup when automation goes astray.

A Different Look at Human Errors as a Cause

If an investigator is looking for a human error as the cause of a traffic accident, that is what they will find. But if they took a different approach, they might find a different result.

That is why the TapRooT® Root Cause Analysis System takes a different approach to analyzing the root causes of incidents and accidents and finds different, correctable causes of problems that some may call “human error.”

The “Why Human Error is NOT a Root Cause” article shows how to take a different approach to analyzing human errors (we call them human performance difficulties) and even suggests that additional Safeguards or re-engineering the system might be the best way to improve future performance of the system (or stop human errors).

In fact, the reason that human errors are so frequently blamed for accidents is that the driver is the only Safeguard between a car and an accident. And since great human performance is only as good as 1 mistake in 10,000 tries, we should expect the number of accidents that our system is producing.

Learn How To Stop Human Errors

Would you like to learn effective ways to stop human errors? Then you should consider attending the Stopping Human Error Course. When is the next course? CLICK HERE to find out.

Stopping Human Error
Alex Paradies teaching a Stopping Human Error Course

Or, contact Alex Paradies to schedule a course at your site. Call him at 865-539-2139 or CLICK HERE to send him a message.

See the course outline at THIS LINK.

And see Mark and Alex talk about the book, Stopping Human Error, and the course at this YouTube video…

Or read the Foreword of the book HERE.

But don’t wait. Stopping human errors is important for your company’s future. The 2-Day Stopp[mh Human Error Course will provide you with the tools and knowledge you need to go beyond human error as a cause of accidents and start developing effective corrective actions to improve the performance of your systems.

Do you have a different perspective on human errors? Please leave a comment below to let us know what you think…

Accident, Human Performance, Root Cause Analysis, Safety
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