Distracted driving likely contributes to many more deaths on the roads than what has been previously reported, according to a new study released by the National Safety Council.
The study reviewed 180 fatal vehicle crashes from 2009 to 2011 where there was compelling evidence the driver operated a cell phone at the time of the crash. Out of the 2011 crashes, only half of them were marked statistically as an accident where the driver used a cell phone. Only 35 percent of the 2010 crashes were marked appropriately, while for 2009 only 8 percent of the crashes involving a cell phone were marked as such in the statistical database.
Even when drivers admitted their cell phone use to police investigators in crashes where someone was killed, only half of the accidents were recorded that way in the database.
The underreporting makes the issue seem less serious than it actually is which makes it harder to pass tougher laws against cell phone use while driving. In fact, in 2011 there were more than 32,000 traffic deaths, however, only 385 of those officially recorded cell phone use by the driver.
Some reasons for the underreporting could include drivers failing to admit cell phone usage at the time of the crash. Generally, it is too much hassle for investigators to subpoena cell phone records to verify or counter their claim. And even with the cell phone record, it can be difficult to determine the exact time of impact.
The National Transportation Safety Board has urged states to ban all drivers from using their cell phones behind the wheel, except in cases of emergencies, saying it is simply too dangerous.
If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident, Dallas car accident attorney Sean Chalaki can help. Contact him at 972-793-8500.