As I write about distracted driving accidents, I find it hard to get a
good statistics for the number of crashes and fatalities attributed to
distracted driving. Estimates of the percentage of fatal crashes involving
distracted drivers range from 10% to 80%.
How serious of a problem is distracted driving? Even the experts can't agree.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) tracks statistics
for accidents across the United States. In 2009, the NHTSA reports that
5,400 people were killed in crashes involving distracted driving; 995
of these accidents involved a handheld phone. In addition, that year,
448,000 people were injured in distracted driving crashes. But, the NHTSA
admits these numbers are an underestimate. Only accidents in which the
distraction was recorded by police officers were counted. Currently, only
34 states ask police departments to identify distraction on their reports;
the level of detail varies from state to state, as does the recording
process. Even if recorded, the incidence of distracted driving may not
be entered in a state's accident database.
David Teater, a parent of an accident victim and an employee of the National
Safety Council, compared reports from over 200 distracted driving accidents
involving cell phone uses. He found that only half of these accidents
were recorded in the NHTSA database.
To solve the problem of under-reporting, safety officials are trying to
standardize the accident information collected by police across the United
States. They are also recommending that police obtain cellphone records
for the minutes before an accident.
So what do we know about distracted driving accidents? We know they are
increasing. In 2005, distracted driving accounted for 10% of the crashes
recorded in the NHTSA database. In 2009, it accounted for at least 16%.
Were you injured by a distracted driver in West Palm Beach? You can learn
more about driver distraction in our article, "Driver Distraction in West Palm Beach: How Much of a Problem is Driver
Distraction?" If you'd like to discuss your accident with an accident attorney in
West Palm Beach, contact the Law Offices of Craig Goldenfarb and ask to
schedule a free consultation.
Craig Goldenfarb, an
accident attorney in West Palm Beach, has made his book,What the Insurance Companies Don't Want You to Know, available free of charge to all Florida accident victims. Fill in the
form on this page to request your copy.