Car crashes in Georgia are often caused by distracted drivers, but many of them are not reported as such according to a recent study by the National Safety Council. According to their analysis of state and federal data, the number of car accidents caused by distracted driving is severely underreported. Failing to correctly identify the causes of these crashes makes the issue appear less severe and makes it difficult to get stricter laws passed.
The study looked at nearly 200 car accidents that occurred between 2009 and 2011 and where there was strong evidence that a cellphone was being used. Of the crashes that occurred in 2011, only half were entered into the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s database as involving a cellphone. Still, the study shows this is an improvement because a mere eight percent were entered as involving cellphones in 2009 and 35 percent in 2010. Even when someone admitted to using a cellphone, this did not guarantee the crash information would be entered correctly.
Inaccurate crash data is another reason that many believe the number of crashes caused by cellphones is greater than what is shown via reporting data. The percentage of crashes caused by distracted driving varies widely from state to state, and police officers do not usually go out of their way to prove whether a cellphone was in use at the time of an accident or not.
If someone has been in a car crash due to another driver’s inattention, they may be eligible for compensation for hospital bills and lost wages. An attorney could help someone understand their legal options in these cases.
Source: CBS News, “Study: Distracted driving deaths underreported”, Joan Lowy, May 07, 2013