Head-On Collisions in Southern California: Their Causes and Their Deadliness

Head-On Collisions in Southern California: Their Causes and Their Deadliness

Head-on crashes are often among the most injurious of all accidents. In 2020, slightly more than 1 in every 10 fatal accidents involved a head-on impact, even though head-on accidents accounted for only around 2% of all crashes. If you've been hurt in a head-on crash, chances are high that someone was driving in a way that creates the possibility of civil liability. To ensure that you're on track to get the compensation you deserve for your injuries, be sure to reach out to a knowledgeable Santa Barbara car accident lawyer as soon as possible after your accident.

A head-on collision in neighboring Ventura County is yet another example of how deadly these accidents often are. The crash happened when, "for unknown reasons," the driver of a BMW heading southbound crossed into the northbound lanes, slamming head-on into a northbound Ford truck. That impact launched the truck into the southbound lanes, where a southbound Honda
car crashed into the truck.

Head-On Collisions in Southern California Their Causes and Their Deadliness

The accident left the driver of the BMW dead and the five occupants of the Ford and the Honda injured. The reason(s) why the driver of the BMW crossed into the northbound lanes were still under investigation by the CHP at the time of the news report, including whether or not drugs or alcohol played a role.

Generally speaking, there exist a handful of causes for most head-on crashes that involve a driver driving in a very unsafe way. Three of these are driving while intoxicated, driving while drowsy, or driving while distracted.

Driving While Intoxicated

Drunk driving is, of course, a major problem. In 2022, more than 1,000 people died in California as a result of drunk driving-related accidents. Proving that the driver who hit you was civilly liable is different than establishing guilt in a criminal case, however, evidence from any criminal investigations/cases that arose from your crash can potentially add strength to your civil case.

Specifically, you don't have to prove that the person was legally drunk. Our firm has recovered full compensation for clients even when the at-fault driver was never convicted of any DUI crime. If the police report or witnesses indicate the driver had been drinking at all (or using drugs), this evidence can help our experts to educate the jury on things like how the driver’s vision, judgment, motor skills, and reaction times were impaired by their consumption.


Each year, the state logs a surprisingly large number of accidents that occur because one or more drivers are drowsy or fatigued. A Nov. 3, 2023, press release from the CHP stated that, as of that date, there had been more than 4,000 drowsy driving-related crashes in the state. In each of 2022 and 2021, the state saw more than 5,000 such accidents.

Proving that a driver was unreasonably drowsy while driving can be trickier than proving that, say, a driver was drunk. Establishing this fact may rely on things like statements by the driver
(to you, to other eyewitnesses, or to law enforcement officers) admitting that he/she was exceptionally fatigued.

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is becoming a bigger problem. According to the Office of Traffic Safety, 140 people died in 2021 in distracted driving-related accidents. That figure represented a 27% increase over 2020, when 110 such deaths occurred.

Car Accident Lawyer
John N. Frye, Car Accident Lawyer

With the proper actions during the discovery phase of your case, proving that the other driver was distracted potentially can be easier than proving, say, that a driver was excessively drowsy. If you suspect that distraction was an issue, you may be able to obtain copies of the driver's cellular service records, including those records documenting the driver's usage. These documents may illustrate whether the driver was using his/her smartphone or other wireless device at the time that the crash took place.

What is common to all these forms of negligence is that the involvement of a skilled legal advocate can greatly help in proving all of the elements necessary to obtain an appropriate judgment and proper compensation. If you've been hurt by an unsafe driver, the experienced Santa Barbara car accident attorneys at the law firm of Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos, LLP are here to be that advocate for you. Contact us at 805-617-1365 or through our website to get a free case consultation today.


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