The National Safety Council has identified 23 factors in a car crash that police should be able to report on. Unfortunately, a recent NSC study shows that no state allows the police to do this for all 23 factors. Georgia residents should know that these factors are essential to knowing the real reason for a crash.
The top states, Kansas and Wisconsin, only covered 14 of the factors in their police reports whereas the worst states, Maryland, Kentucky and Nebraska, captured only five. No state has a field or code for police to measure driver fatigue, nor do any have a field for recording the use of driver assistance systems. Only three states have the police report on the use of infotainment systems.
Various forms of distraction are also being missed. Twenty-six states do not have a field for texting, and 32 states do not give police the chance to record hands-free phone use or the use of marijuana and other drugs that can be identified through a positive drug test. Thirty-five states do not capture teen driver restrictions.
The NSC is pushing for a more investigative approach to car accidents. States should also consider electronic data collection since electronic data recorders can capture the use of driver assistance systems.
More comprehensive police reports can improve the chances of car wreck victims receiving the compensation they deserve when they are injured at the hands of a negligent driver. However, victims may not want to file their claim alone because it usually takes more than a report to prove negligence. Victims themselves may be partially at fault, but in this state, plaintiffs might still recover damages as long as they are less than 50% to blame. Filing and negotiating may go more smoothly with a lawyer.