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Are crash reports falling short in the information they contain?

Crash reports can play an important role in many contexts here in the United States.

For one, these reports are sometimes turned to in efforts to gauge what trends are occurring when it comes to traffic safety and motor vehicle accidents. Understanding what trends are happening out on the roads can be important in efforts to try to improve traffic safety.

Additionally, such reports can play a big role in personal injury cases involving motor vehicle accidents. Such reports are one of the sources of information that may be available when it comes to trying to pin down the specifics of an accident, what things were factors in the crash and what legal options a victim may have. Skilled personal injury lawyers can help traffic crash victims with tracking down and analyzing information and evidence regarding their accident.

So, what kind of information the crash reports police file contain can be very impactful. In a recent report, the National Safety Council argues that many of these reports are missing some potentially helpful pieces of information.

The report is on a review that the NSC did on crash reports in the different states. The review found that there currently is no code or field for drowsy driving in the traffic accident reports of any of the states. The study also found that there were a variety of pieces of information that a majority of states do not have in their reports, including information regarding: driver texting, specific type of drug use and hands-free phone use.

The report made various recommendations regarding expanding the information contained in crash reports.

One wonders if Florida and other states will make any big changes to their practices regarding police crash reports moving forward and what impacts changes that do end up being made will have.

Source: Safety+Health, “Motor vehicle crash reports missing key data, NSC says,” April 27, 2017

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