Brooksville Fatal Auto Accident Attorney :: Study Concludes That Driving Deaths Caused by Cell Phone Use are Underreported

May 13, 2013

Most of us, at some point in time, have been involved in a traffic accident. Whether a crash is severe or relatively minor, there are certain steps to take after an accident occurs. However, when a fatal auto accident happens, police are called to the scene to determine what exactly happened. This can be difficult for an officer to determine as the crash site may be chaotic, but a record of what happened needs to be documented, including what caused the crash, who was involved and other details relating to the incident. Officers must review all pieces of evidence and talk to any eye witnesses in order to piece together what happened on the roadway before the crash occurred.

Law enforcement officers generally determine the cause of an accident based off of evidence readily available at the scene and eyewitness accounts. If a witness at the crash site tells an officer that he observed a driver run a stop sign and then cause a crash that will likely be what the officer records as the cause of the collision. Accident reports compiled by police offers are viewed as accurate because officers are held in high regard and are thought to have the experience needed to report an accident accurately.

However, a recent study conducted by the National Safety Council indicates that a large number of accident reports may actually be inaccurate. In fact, the study argues that many fatal auto accidents are caused by drivers who were distracted by a cell phone. So while an accident may happen because a driver failed to observe a stop sign, the study suggests that accidents like these often arise because the driver was busy chatting on their cell phone.

man talking on the cell phone

Researchers reviewed 180 fatal crashes from 2009-2011 where there was some reason to believe that a cell phone played a role in the crash, and found the following results:

  • Only half of the crashes studied from 2011 were cited as being caused by cell phone use in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s database.
  • In 2010, only 35 percent of the fatal crashes studied noted that a cell phone was used prior to the crash.
  • In 2009, only 8 percent of the fatal crashes were coded as involving cell phones.

The study concludes that many fatal crashes are actually caused by cell phone use, which is severely underreported across the United States. Of the 32,000 traffic deaths in 2011, the latest year where complete data is available, only 385 crashes are listed as involving cell phones. As the study suggests, cell phone use by drivers could be a much larger public safety problem than we think.

Talking or texting on a cell phone while driving is quite dangerous. Fatal accidents can happen in the blink of an eye, so it is always best to put your cell phones and other electronic devices away when behind the wheel. If you or someone you love has been injured or killed in a car accident caused by a distracted driver in Brooksville, Spring Hill or surrounding areas, contact a Hernando County Auto Accident Attorney at Whittel & Melton today online or call 352-666-2121 for a free consultation.

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