Zuba & Associates, P.C.

NSC finds flaws in each state's police auto accident reports

A recent report from the National Safety Council has shown that every state fails to provide fields and codes for the reporting of all critical car crash factors. This leaves everyone in Illinois and across the U.S. with incomplete police reports and a compromised ability to determine and address the various causes of auto accidents.

The NSC lays out 23 safety-critical factors. The best states were Kansas and Wisconsin, but they only capture 14 of those factors. This is followed by Maryland, Kentucky and Nebraska, which only capture five. No states have fields for the reporting and measuring of driver fatigue or the reporting of driver assistance technology use. Only three states have provisions for reporting infotainment system use.

Police are unable to report texting in 26 states and hands-free cellphone use in 32 states. Impaired driving is another issue subject to incomplete data. For example, Arizona, California, Colorado, Maine, New York and Virginia fail to have fields for capturing alcohol impairment below .08 percent. Half of the states that have decriminalized recreational marijuana use do not allow for the recording of positive marijuana results.

Around 40,000 people died in car crashes in 2016, a 6 percent increase from the previous year. The NSC emphasizes the fact that incomplete police report data will make it hard to justify any attempts to reverse this trend.

Police reports are crucial to determining negligence after a car crash. Victims may want to consult with a lawyer to see if they are eligible for compensation under personal injury law. The lawyer may assist with the filing of the claim and handle all negotiations for a settlement. If the auto insurance company's own legal team refuses to pay out or offers an unreasonably low settlement, the lawyer might litigate. A successful claim may be able to cover medical expenses, lost income and more.

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