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Police reports lack information on crash causes

Car accidents are a common cause of injuries in Georgia and around the country. Data from the National Safety Council suggests that states are falling short on collecting information about the causes of most crashes. Police reports may contain inadequate or inaccurate information about the incidents.

The study found that no state police report forms contained sections to record information about driver fatigue. All 50 state reports lacked fields to record information about driver-assistance technology. Cellphone data is also inadequate - 26 state forms lacked fields about texting while driving and 32 lacked fields to record information about hands-free cellphone use.

The NSC identified 23 crash factors that should be included on police reports. No states utilized fields to capture all factors, but Wisconsin and Kansas recorded the most information. Six states do not have fields or codes for information regarding blood alcohol levels below the legal limit even though fatal crashes frequently involve drivers who had a BAC below 0.08.

The NSC is urging all states to capture more information about crashes using information technology and collecting data from electronic crash monitoring systems available in new vehicles. Researchers are concerned that failing to identify the causes of car accidents means that not enough is being done to prevent them.

Police reports play a key role after car injury accidents because they contain information about who the police believe was at fault and other essential information. Sometimes police reports do not contain enough information for an insurance adjuster to determine who was at fault. A personal injury lawyer may be able to help individuals who have been injured in a crash recover compensation by obtaining key information that is missing in police reports from other sources.

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