Georgia residents may know that the number of fatal car crashes is increasing. Yet it will be difficult for states to develop laws and regulations addressing the factors behind this increase, and the reason is simple: police reports come with severe limitations. A study from the National Safety Council shows that this is a nationwide issue.
The NSC identifies 23 crash factors that police should be able to record. But the states that fared the best, Kansas and Wisconsin, captured only 14 of these. Zero states have fields for reporting driver fatigue or the use of advanced driver assistance technologies. Texting and hands-free cell phone use behind the wheel can only be reported in 26 and 32 states, respectively. Police in 35 states cannot capture teen driver restrictions.
When drugs are involved, police are nonetheless unable to record in 32 states what types of drugs the test came up positive with. Of the eight states that have decriminalized recreational marijuana use, only half include fields and codes for recording positive marijuana results. Another problem, alcohol impairment at low levels, goes unrecognized in six states.
To better understand the causes of car crashes, law enforcement and traffic safety organizations should take a more investigative approach to each crash. The NSC also recommends using electronic data collection. Electronic data recorders can capture vital information on driver assistance technology use.
When negligence is to blame for car accidents, those who are injured through little or no fault of their own may be able to file an injury claim. This is where a lawyer and his or her team of investigators might come in. The latter may opt to obtain a copy of the police report and conduct their own investigation into the crash so that the defendant’s guilt is established. All negotiations might then be handled by the lawyer.