Not All Cellphone-Related Car Accidents Are Properly Reported By Law Enforcement
Austin, TX (Law Firm Newswire) July 8, 2013 – Cellphone-related car accidents are not always reported as such by law enforcement.
“Not every car accident resulting in serious injuries or death is attributed to cellphone use. It depends on the circumstances of the case. Consider the case of a young 17-year-old woman, talking on her cellphone, clipping a snow bank, spinning into oncoming traffic and being broadsided by an SUV. Her last word's were 'I'm going to crash,’” said Bobby Lee, an Austin personal injury attorney of Lee, Gober and Reyna in Austin, Texas. The young lady died in hospital without even regaining consciousness.
The police report said the cause of the accident was the inexperience of the young driver. They did not know she had been on her phone at the time of the crash. The cellular phone was later found in the back seat of her vehicle, which led to a re-evaluation of the crash. Perhaps the accident had not been because she was a novice driver, but because she was driving while distracted, talking on a cellphone.
“The point is that her death was due to distracted driving while on the cellphone was not included in the police file. This affects crash statistics, meaning crash deaths caused by mobile device usage while driving, are greatly underreported,” Lee indicated.
Underreporting diminishes the serious nature of distracted driving and results in more difficulty passing laws to protect people. One study, in which Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company participated, examined 180 collisions between 2009 and 2011. In all 180 accidents, there was strong evidence the driver's last action prior to crashing was using a mobile device. This same study also revealed that even if a driver survived an accident that killed someone and admitted to police that they had been using a cellphone, that admission was not noted in the accident report.
Many road safety advocates are certain the number of crashes caused by cellphone usage is much higher than reported. “It all boils down to a greater awareness by police of the possibility of an accident being caused by distracted driving, and making it a priority to check the accident scene for that possibility when they arrive at the site,” suggested Lee. If police routinely check for the presence of a cellphone at a crash site, driver self-admission would not be an issue. The evidence present at the site would speak for itself.
Lee, Gober and Reyna
11940 Jollyville Road, Suite 220-S
Austin, Texas 78759