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Is Distracted Driving in Fatal Georgia Car Crashes Underreported?


Posted on May 28, 2013

A recent study by the National Safety Council reports that the number of fatal car crashes involving drivers on their cell phones is seriously underreported.  Shockingly, this study indicates that distracted driving deaths may be underreported nationwide, as 385 out of 32,000 traffic deaths in 2011 were listed as involving cell phones. 

The study looked at 180 fatal crashes from 2009 to 2011, in which there was evidence that a cell phone was involved. Of the crashes reported in 2008 and 2009, about eight percent of the accidents were coded in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s database as cell phone involved. Of the crashes reported in 2010, 35 percent were believed to be cell phone involved, and in 2011, about 50 percent of the accidents were coded as accidents involving cell phones. 

At the time of a crash, police conduct an investigation to determine the cause of the crash. Sometimes, police cannot determine if a cell phone was used or the data doesn’t get reported in the statistics that federal agencies use to compile crash data. Even when a driver admits to the cops that he or she used a cell phone during a crash that involved a fatality, the council reports that only half of those cases are recorded in the database. 

“Many factors from drivers not admitting cell phone us to a lack of consistency in crash reports being used to collect data at the scene, make it very challenging to determine an accurate number,” said Janet Foetscher, the safety council’s president and CEO.

Distracted driving in Georgia has led to many Georgia car crashes involving catastrophic injuries and fatalities, and underreporting can make distracted driving less significant than it actually is—even though it is a huge and very concerning problem. 

If a distracted driver injured you, or you need some questions answered, call us today.

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Shane Smith
Advocate for the Seriously Injured in Georgia