Many accidents in Florida caused by distracted driving are not reported properly, leading people to believe the issue of cellphone usage while driving is not as severe as it is. Research done by the National Safety Council shows that when a cellphone or distracted driving is the cause of a car accident, it is not necessarily recorded this way in police databases. The study looked at fatal collisions that occurred in 2009, 2010 and 2011 and where there were strong indications the driver was using a cellphone at the time of the accident.
The researchers found that even by 2011, only about half of those accidents were reported to have been caused by a cellphone. This is a dramatic increase from a mere eight percent in 2009, but it still demonstrates how underreported distracted driving is. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s database, there were 32,000 traffic fatalities in 2011, but only 385 show as having involved cellphone usage. Additionally, statistics vary from state to state by a fairly wide margin.
Discrepancies in reporting data are likely due to difficulties in investigating and proving cell use. Police officers would be required to get a subpoena to access cellular records, and when there is a fatality, it is difficult to determine if a cellphone was used at the time of the accident.
Someone who is not paying attention to the road is far more likely to cause a collision. If an individual has been in a car accident caused by a distracted driver, they may want to speak with an attorney to find out if they have legal recourse.
Source: CBS News, “Study: Distracted driving deaths underreported”, May 07, 2013