Fatal Distracted Driving Crashes May Be Significantly Under-reported

Posted on May 27, 2013

Earlier this month the National Safety Council released a new report entitled, “Crashes Involving Cell Phones: Challenges of Collecting and Reporting Reliable Crash Data.” According to the report, the fatal accidents involving a driver using a cell phone are significantly underreported in the United States.

The report looked at data from 180 fatal crashes that occurred between 2009 and 2011. There was evidence in each of the accidents that a driver was using a cell phone at the time of the crash. However, only 52% of those crashes included a driver’s cell phone use as a reason for the crash in national statistics.

Overall, researchers believe that accurate distracted driving data is not currently available for a variety of reasons, including drivers not admitting cell phone use and inconsistency in the way crash reports are completed by investigating officers.

Some of the discrepancies can be seen in the state data provided to the national government. For example, in 2011 Tennessee reported 93 fatalities related to using a cell phone while driving, while New York, a much more populated state, reported only one fatality related to using a cell phone and driving. The state of Louisiana reported no deaths from drivers’ cell phone use, but a bordering state (Texas) reported 40 such fatalities.

This lack of consistent reporting may not be just a statistical problem, according to the National Safety Council. Instead, the National Safety Council believes that it is a bigger problem that could affect public safety, since statistics often dictate legislative and funding priorities.

Our Kentucky wrongful death lawyers extend their deepest condolences to anyone who has lost a loved one in a Kentucky distracted driving crash.

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Matthew L. White
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Founder & Partner of Louisville Personal Injury Law Firm Gray & White Law