Study finds distracted driving statistics too low

According to an advocacy group, statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration regarding fatal distracted driving accidents are drastically under-reported. This administration’s database reported that there were 32,000 fatal motor vehicle accidents nationwide in 2011, but it reported that only 385 of these deaths were related to the use of a cell phone during the accident. Consequently, it may be likely that the death of Florida drivers and passengers who were killed due to distracted driving are also under-reported.

The president of the National Safety Council says that the organization believes that distracted driving accidents are much more common than the statistics indicate. She cites a variety of reasons why these numbers may be under-reported, such as drivers not admitting their use of cell phones during the crash and an inconsistent manner among states and authorities regarding how they collect data at the scene of an accident. If a driver, passenger or witness does not tell a police officer at the scene of an accident that a cell phone was involved, officers might not investigate this possibility. Additionally, getting accurate data is even more difficult because police officers generally have to acquire a subpoena in order to get someone’s phone records.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration acknowledges weaknesses in obtaining accurate data. The administration reports that it is collaborating with states and law enforcement officials to develop simpler ways to report motor vehicle accidents that involve distracted driving, such as using model forms that include a box that police officers can check if cell phone use was related to the car accident.

When a person dies in a motor vehicle accident, his or her family may pursue compensation. A first step is usually to retain the services of a Florida wrongful death lawyer who can conduct an independent investigation into any and all causes related to the accident.

Source: CBS News, “Study: Distracted driving deaths underreported”, May 07, 2013

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