Orange County Car Accidents


Auto accidents involving cars, trucks, motorcycles, and other motor vehicles are one of the leading causes of preventable death in the United States a present a considerable cause for concern for Orange County residents.

In 2018, 242 fatalities were reported as a result of car crashes in Orange County, California. In Orange County, freeways are the primary location for fatal car crashes in this region. In 2016, there was a total of 36,934 reported vehicle collisions, with 22,902 victims injured.

Car Accident Injuries

Car accidents can result in serious, life-changing injuries. Depending on the types of injuries you sustain, you may require expensive medical care such as reconstructive surgery, vocational rehabilitation, permanent medical equipment, and medications. You may also suffer lost income and a diminished quality of life. Injuries include:

  • head injury
  • traumatic brain injury
  • chest injury
  • back injury
  • whiplash
  • spinal cord injury and paralysis
  • amputation of limbs
  • fractures
  • soft tissue damage (muscles, tendons, ligaments) 
  • burns
  • deep cuts/lacerations

Causes of Car Accidents in Orange County 

There are various reasons that car accidents occur in Orange County.

Distracted Driving

One of the most common causes is distracted driving. Distracted driving is defined as any activity that diverts attention away from driving, such as talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, talking to people in your vehicle, fiddling with the stereo, entertainment or navigation system — anything that takes your attention away from the task of safe driving. A distracted driver endangers everyone else on the road because they are unable to devote their full attention to driving.


Driving over the speed limit not only increases the probability of being involved in an automobile accident, but also increases the likelihood that the incident will result in serious injury or death. 

Reckless Driving

Reckless driving can be extremely dangerous, causing others to dodge their vehicles. It can include unsafe lane changes, wrong-way driving, road rage, turning in an unsafe way and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Drunk driving ranks among the highest causes of fatalities. 

Dangerous Roads in Orange County

Ortega Highway

Ortega Highway is one of the most scenic roads in Southern California, however it is also one of the deadliest. State Route 74 stretches from the I-5 in San Juan Capistrano to Riverside across a naturally wid region in South Orange County.

The highway is known for attracting motorcycle riders. The winding highway is very narrow, making it especially dangerous for motorcyclists. This has caused an increasing rate of motorcycle fatalities.

Beach Boulevard

Beach Boulevard rans along State Route 39 from the Huntington Beach coast all the way up through Los Angeles, connecting many key downtown areas of Northern Orange County. Beach Boulevard is reported to have had over 4,800 accidents.

Interstate 5

The I-5 freeways runs from Canada to Mexico - and is thought to be one of the most dangerous roads in all of California. The point where the I-5 merges with the 405 Freeway is thought to be particularly dangerous, particularly during peak hours. 

The Orange County Register identified the following as among the most dangerous intersection in Orange County:

"Here are the other intersections we identified as the county's most dangerous:


Nearby shopping centers, apartment complexes and bus stops draw pedestrians and bicyclists to the intersection of 17th and Fairview streets in Santa Ana. With its long straightaways between lights, 40 mph speed limits, and easy access to freeways, 17th Street, which turns into Westminster west of Fairview, is also a popular thoroughfare for drivers.

With five serious accidents, the intersection of 17th and Fairview streets is the second most dangerous intersection in Orange County. One person died and five others were hurt – four of them severely – in five serious accidents at or near the intersection. The person who died was a bicyclist. Another bicyclist and two pedestrians were among those hurt.

Two of the accidents were caused by jay-walking, two more were caused by running red lights, and one was caused by unsafe backing.


Like 17th and Fairview streets, the intersection of Chapman and Gilbert is heavily traveled by drivers, as well as pedestrians and bicyclists making their way between nearby bus stops, shopping centers and homes.

One person was killed and five others were hurt in the four serious accidents reported in or near the intersection.


The intersection of Bristol Street and McFadden Avenue is a hive of activity after classes let out at nearby Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School. Students, parents and shoppers crowd bus stops on the corners and stream across crosswalks – often against a red “Don't Walk” signal.

In one of the four serious accidents reported at or near the intersection, a vehicle struck and killed a pedestrian who entered the crosswalk while there was a flashing “Don't Walk” signal. Ten more people were hurt – three of them severely – in the other three serious accidents.


Failure to yield when making turns at red lights was the primary cause in half of the four serious accidents reported at the intersections where Campus Drive and Irvine Avenue meet Bristol over the 73 freeway in Newport Beach. The accidents left one person dead and five others hurt – three of them severely.

Newport Beach police said speed was probably also part of the reason for severe accidents at the intersection.

“You're dealing with drivers going onto the freeway or coming off the freeway, so you're dealing with higher speed,” said Lt. Tom Fischbacher. “So if there is a collision, it's more likely to result in a significant injury.”


Drivers frequently run the stop sign on Montcliff where the two-lane street meets El Toro, a popular six-lane thoroughfare to I-5, according to people who live and work in the neighborhood. Drivers approaching El Toro come down hill.

“They pull up so fast; they don't even stop,” said Jorge Recinos, 22, a resident who lives nearby.

A vehicle ran the stop sign and was broadsided by cross traffic in two of the four serious accidents reported at or near the intersection. Six people were hurt – four of them severely – in the crashes. No one died.


The intersection of Jeffrey Road and Irvine Center Drive is usually a busy place, with heavy foot and vehicle traffic from a nearby freeway, shopping center and junior college.

Each of the four serious accidents at or near the intersection was attributed to a different cause, including speeding, wrong-way driving and driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The cause of one crash was undetermined.

Six people – two of them bicyclists – were severely injured in the accidents. No one died.


Five people were hurt – four of them severely – in four serious crashes at the intersection of Olympiad Road and Alicia Parkway. Drunken driving was the main cause of one collision. Failure to stop and wait at a red arrow caused another. A third was attributed to “improper driving,” while the cause of the fourth was undetermined.

Alicia Parkway is one of Mission Viejo's main paths to the I-5 freeway and one of the community's most highly-traveled streets, according to sheriff's deputies. A shopping center, a park, and a residential neighborhood off of Olympiad Road add to traffic at the intersection." (Source: Orange County Register)

How we can help

If you have been seriously injured in a car accident in Orange County, you may have a personal injury case if you can prove that the collision was caused by the driver of the other vehicle, a problem with an unsafe roadway, or a defect with the vehicle. You may be entitled to loss of income, property damage, medical bills, and pain and suffering. Auto accident claims, especially those involving multiple vehicles or roadway or vehicle defects, may be highly complex. They may involve pursuing cases against large powerful corporations, public entities, and insurance companies.  Therefore you need a law firm such as ours, with extensive experience and the resources to handle such cases and maximize your recovery.

Contact Taschner Law today for a Free Consultation or and see how we can help!

Major OC Highways (published under GNU Wikipedia License):

Major Orange County Highways

State Route 1 winds down the coast over Corona Del Mar State Beach

Ground transportation in Orange County relies heavily on three major interstate highways: the Santa Ana Freeway (I-5), the San Diego Freeway (I-405 and I-5 south of Irvine), and the San Gabriel River Freeway (I-605), which briefly passes through northwestern Orange County. The other freeways in the county are state highways, and include the Riverside and Artesia Freeway (SR 91) and the Garden Grove Freeway (SR 22) running east–west, and the Orange Freeway (SR 57), the Costa Mesa Freeway (SR 55), the Laguna Freeway (SR 133), the San Joaquin Transportation Corridor (SR 73), the Eastern Transportation Corridor (SR 261SR 133SR 241), and the Foothill Transportation Corridor (SR 241) running north–south. Minor freeways include the Richard M. Nixon Freeway (SR 90), also known as Imperial Highway, and the southern terminus of Pacific Coast Highway (SR 1). There are no U.S. Highways in Orange County, though two existed in the county until the mid-1960s: 91 and 101. US 91 went through what is now the state route of the same number, and US 101 was replaced by Interstate 5. SR 1 was once a bypass of US 101 (Route 101A).

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