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Study Finds Distracted Driving Deaths are Underreported

by mdp | May 9th, 2013

Distracted DrivingAccording to a recent analysis of state and federal data by the National Safety Council, car accident deaths involving drivers that were on the phone at the time of the crash are significantly underreported. As a result of inaccurate reporting, the problem of distracted driving appears less serious than it actually is and hinders efforts to win passage of tougher laws, the council warns. If you have suffered injuries in a Tennessee car accident that you believe was caused by a distracted driver, contact our knowledgeable attorneys at Michael D. Ponce & Associates for legal help. You may be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries and medical expenses, which you can pursue by filing a personal injury lawsuit against the allegedly negligent driver.

Car Accidents Involving Cell Phone Use

In its analysis, the advocacy group reviewed 180 fatal collisions between 2009 and 2011 in which there was strong evidence that the driver had been using a cell phone. Of the 2011 accidents, the researchers found that only half were coded in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) accident database as involving cell phone use. Comparably, in 2010, only 35% of the crashes were coded as involving cell phones, and in 2009, only 8% were coded. In addition, even in cases where drivers admitted that they were using a cell phone during a collision in which another person was killed, roughly half of the cases weren’t recorded that way in the database.

Distracted Driving Death Rates May be Higher than Expected

According to the NHTSA database, there were more than 32,000 traffic accident deaths overall in 2011, but only 385 are listed as involving phones. “We believe the number of crashes involving cellphone use is much greater than what is being reported,” said Janet Foetscher, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. “Many factors, from drivers not admitting cellphone 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.” While the safety administration’s database is the most trusted resource when it comes to traffic accident statistics, the accuracy of the database depends on accident information gathered by states from police reports, which may not be entirely accurate.

Contact Our Knowledgeable Attorneys for Legal Help

One possible reason for the underreporting is that, unless a driver, passenger or witness tells authorities that a cell phone was being used, officers who respond to an accident scene may have no reason to suspect distracted driving as a possible cause. NHTSA has acknowledged weaknesses in its distracted driving data and has been working with states and police in an effort to more accurately report the rate of car accident deaths caused by cell phone use in Tennessee and throughout the country. If you have sustained car accident injuries in Tennessee, or if you lost a loved one in a fatal TN car accident, consult our qualified lawyers at Michael D. Ponce & Associates to discuss your legal options. Our law firm is located in Nashville, and our attorneys have years of experience helping victims of car accidents throughout Tennessee seek fair and timely reimbursement for their injuries.


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