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NHTSA fatal crash data significantly inaccurate

A study suggests that the data on file regarding fatal car accidents with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is inaccurate. There is a huge gap between the data on file and the incidents that are suspected to have occurred as a result of drivers distracted by phones. The NHTSA's database is the primary resource for collecting data, but its accuracy is highly dependent upon information obtained by states from police reports. Georgia residents who have experienced the loss of a loved one in a fatal crash caused by negligence could be entitled to compensation.

The National Safety Council is the advocacy group which conducted the annual analyses between 2009 and 2011. They evaluated a sample group of 180 fatal crashes showing evidence that a phone was used by a driver at the time of the crash. Their findings determined that fatal crashes involving drivers using phones were seriously underreported. The first year determined 8 percent were reported as being related to cell phone use, 35 percent in the second year, and nearly half in the latest analysis.

The NHTSA acknowledges that the reporting system in place needs improvement. They attribute the inaccuracies to officers not asking whether a phone was being used, no witnesses to attest a phone was being used, and lack of driver admission to using a phone. Accurate reporting could save lives by means of stricter laws and penalties.

Victims affected by the negligence of someone using a phone while operating a vehicle could pursue a cause of action for wrongful death. They might benefit from discussing the case with a personal injury lawyer. A lawyer could review police reports and evidence obtained to determine a fair compensation amount. They might also assist with negotiating a settlement.

Source: CBS News, "Study: Distracted driving deaths underreported", May 07, 2013

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