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TN Had Highest Rate of Cell Phone-Related Traffic Fatalities in 2010 and 2011, Study Finds

by mdp | August 2nd, 2013

Distracted DrivingAccording to a recent report released by the National Safety Council, Tennessee had the highest number of cell phone-related car accident deaths in the United States in 2010 and 2011. The National Safety Council’s study, titled “Crashes Involving Cell Phones: Challenges of Collecting and Reporting Reliable Crash Data,” was partially funded by Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company and was conducted in an effort to raise awareness of the dangers of talking on the phone or texting while driving. Officials with the National Safety Council also hope to shed light on the fact that the rate of deadly accidents caused by cell phone use is likely vastly under-reported, which could have an effect on national accident prevention, policy and possibly even the risk of future accidents. If you have suffered injuries in a serious car accident in Tennessee, or if you lost a loved one in a crash allegedly caused by another person’s negligence, contact our reputable attorneys at Michael D. Ponce & Associates today for legal help.

Accidents Caused by Cell Phone Use Higher than Reported

During the car accident study, researchers examined crash data from 180 different fatal accidents between 2009 and 2011, where evidence indicated driver cell phone use. However, in 2011, only 52% of these accidents were coded in the national database as involving cell phone use. “We believe the number of crashes involving cell phone use is much greater than what is being reported,” stated Janet Froetscher, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. “Many factors, from drivers not admitting cell phone use, to a lack of consistency in crash reports being used to collect data at the scene, make it very challenging to determine an accurate number.” Even when drivers admitted that they were using their cell phone when a crash occurred, the study found that, in about one-half of cases, the crash was not coded as such in the federal database. Furthermore, there are an unknown number of cases in which the use of a cell phone is impossible to determine.

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In Tennessee alone, there were 93 reported fatal accidents where cell phone use played a factor in 2011, while New York, which has a much larger population, reported only one. Texas reported 40 cell phone-related crashes that same year, but its neighboring state Louisiana reported none. “The public should be aware that cell phone-involved fatal crashes are not accurately being reported,” said Bill Windsor, associate vice president of consumer safety at Nationwide. “These statistics influence national prevention priorities, funding decisions, media attention, legislation and policy, even vehicle and roadway engineering. There are wide-ranging, negative ramifications to safety if a fatal crash factor is substantially under-reported, as appears to be the case of cell phone use in crashes.” If you have been injured in a car accident in Nashville, or elsewhere in Tennessee, consult our knowledgeable lawyers at Michael D. Ponce & Associates to discuss your legal options.


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