Accomplished. Agile. Accessible.
  1. Home
  2.  » 
  3. Motor Vehicle Accidents
  4.  » Trying to find the real number of distracted driving deaths

Trying to find the real number of distracted driving deaths

On Behalf of | Feb 15, 2024 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

Despite steps to address it by educating and penalizing drivers who take part in the practice, distracted driving remains a problem on the Georgia roads. Assessing the statistics is a crucial part of attempting to reduce its frequency and make the roads safer.

However, one obstacle to coming to an accurate gauge as to how many auto crashes stem from distraction is the absence of data. This is surprising given how cellphones are programmed to track people’s habits.

When looking at the number of distracted driving accidents with injuries and death, it is important to put the available information in its proper context. This is also essential for those who are considering their options after a collision.

No database of cellphone accidents currently exists

As handheld devices with a seemingly endless number of features grew in popularity, so too did the number of auto accidents with hallmarks of distracted driving. Still, there has yet to be an accumulation of data to give a baseline as to how big of a problem it is and if strategies to reduce its frequency are proving to be effective. It is believed the lack of information suggests there are fewer distracted driving accidents than are really happening.

The most recent numbers from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are from 2021. That year, there was a 16% spike in accidents from the previous year. Almost 43,000 people were killed. This was the worst total in 16 years. Despite that, less than 1% were reported as happening because of distraction. There were approximately 2.5 million accidents without fatalities and an estimated 8% were connected to distraction.

The problem with getting an accurate picture is that law enforcement is relying on the people involved in the accident being truthful about having been distracted, something many might not choose to do for fear of negative consequences. Witnesses to distracted driving and checking the phone data is limited during these investigations.

While drivers will not tell law enforcement that they were distracted, they do admit it in anonymous surveys. There is a disparity based on a 2022 Insurance Institute for Highway Safety survey where 20% of drivers confessed to driving distracted in various ways using their handheld device.

According to traffic safety experts, not having the cellphone data inevitably leads to undercounting the number of distracted driving crashes. The NHTSA concedes this point and is trying to formulate strategies to garner accurate numbers.

Evidence is critical after an auto accident

People who are heading to work, running an errand, going to school or taking to the road for any other reason can have their lives upended because of another driver behaving recklessly. Those have been injured or lost a loved one in an auto accident will need to think about the future. That includes the cost of medical care, rehabilitation, lost wages and an uncertain long-term prognosis.

When weighing how to proceed, the reason the accident occurred can be a fundamental factor in the outcome. Whether it was due to distraction, speeding or drivers who were under the influence, it is vital to do everything possible to assess the case and take the necessary steps to make a full recovery.