Crash Reports Lack Critical InformationJune 29, 2017
A new study by the National Safety Council (NSC) reveals that current crash reports do not include critical information about certain types of accidents, including drunk driving, distracted driving, drowsy driving, or driving while under the influence of drugs. In effort to address this issue and help law enforcement and safety officials gain a better understanding of what has caused the recent rise in vehicle fatalities, the NSC recommends more detailed crash reports, as well as a number of other proactive safety measures.
The study, entitled “Undercounted Is Underinvested: How Incomplete Crash Reports Impact Efforts to Save Lives,” examined crash reports from all 50 states. Researchers found the following to be true:
- While 49 states had a place on the crash report to indicate driver fatigue, none of the states’ forms included a field where law enforcement could record a specific level of drowsiness at the time of the accident.
- Thirty-two reports did not include fields for specific types of drug use.
- Thirty-two reports did not have a field for recording the use of a hands-free cell phone.
- Twenty-six reports lacked fields for reporting texting while driving.
- Only three out of 48 states that included a field for recording handheld mobile phone use included a field for driver distraction from infotainment systems.
The NSC has identified 23 factors that can cause car accidents, which should be included on all official crash reports. None of the 50 states include all 23 factors, but Kansas and Wisconsin lead the way with 14 factors each. Kentucky, Maryland, and Nebraska only included five crash-inducing factors on their reports.
Fatal Car Accidents on the Rise
According to NSC estimates, nearly 40,000 people were fatally injured in car accidents in 2016, which is a six percent increase over 2015 and a 14 percent increase from 2014. In fact, 2016 was the deadliest year in terms of car wreck fatalities since 2007. The president and CEO of the National Safety Council commented that authorities should be focusing more on the “why” instead of the “what” when it comes to car accidents. Every 15 minutes, someone loses their life in a car accident in this country. The NSC argues that more comprehensive data is needed in order to make better decisions about traffic safety.
Moving forward, the NSC recommends more detailed crash reports, as well as increased standardization, quicker responses to the latest developments in technology, increased electronic data collection, improved training programs for law enforcement officers, and an overall shift toward a more proactive approach to preventing car accidents.
Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent Car Accident Victims
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