According to the National Safety Council, the data captured from 2009 to 2011 of cell phone use in fatal car crashes is not correct. There is a serious under-reporting of cell phone use behind the wheel, causing the public to be unaware of the high risks involved with cell phones while driving.
Three Levels of Cell Phone Use Knowledge:
Of the crashes involving cell phone use, there are three levels of knowledge available. Examples are listed below:
Known: Driver admitted phone use
A hit and run driver collided with a 19-year-old, pregnant female in 2010. The driver was talking on his cell phone and was unaware that he even hit a person, suspecting that it was a water cooler instead. The crash report does not mention the driver’s cell phone use.
Suspected: Driver didn’t admit to phone use
A driver rear-ends another car that was stopped at a red light. Witnesses report seeing the at-fault driver swerve before the crash. The crash has clear signs of distraction and cell phone use, but lacks proof.
Unknown: One car crash, no witnesses, driver deceased
A driver in a single vehicle hits a tree and is killed. There are no passengers or witnesses, and no physical evidence to explain whether or not the driver was using a cell phone. Wireless records cannot capture whether or not the driver was reading a text or email.
Why is Data Incorrect?
There are variances of cell phone use reported by state. Data flows from the local level to the national level, and police officer and investigator reports differ by state.
The state agencies compile, code, audit and validate the crash data. The paper forms used by states are coded into an electronic system and crash data from multiple source documents are recorded for national conformity. The NHTSA then compiles crashes involving fatalities into one standardized national database. As you can see, there are many opportunities for cell phone use data to be lost along the way to the national report.
Cell phone use causing distraction is a bigger problem than many people realize. Our office is a strong supporter of reducing distracted driving, so this issue is very important to us. We remind drivers that the text, call, or email can wait until they are out from behind the wheel.
If you or a loved one has been a victim of distracted driving, call our Ohio car accident attorneys.
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