Use Of Cell Phones In Many Fatal Crashes Found Not To Be Reported.

June 27, 2013

When a Buffalo resident is killed by a driver who was distracted by the use of a cell phone, their family is entitled to bring a wrongful death claim.  Because of the risk of personal injury or wrongful death to other users of the road, the laws of New York State ban the use of hand held phones or other electronic devices while driving.  Unfortunately, a recent study by the National Safety Council – a nonprofit advocacy group – has found that the involvement of cell phones in many fatal crashes often goes unreported.

While the NSC’s findings indicate that this is a nationwide problem, it appears that New York State may be one of the worst offenders in failing to investigate and report that a driver was using a cell phone when a fatal accident occurred.  The study notes that Tennessee led all states in properly reporting cell phone use in fatal accidents, with 93 incidents reported in 2011 and 71 in 2010.  In contrast, New York – which has three times to population of Tennessee – reported only one fatal accident involving a cell phone in 2011 and 10 in 2010.

Although there are several reasons these fatalities are not properly reported, one of the biggest may be difficulties facing the police when investigating suspicions of cell phone use.  Often there are no witnesses who can confirm police suspicions, and the driver may not volunteer that he or she was using the phone.  When this happens the only way investigators can confirm phone use is to subpoena the driver’s phone records and see if the phone was in use at the time of the fatal crash.

If you have lost a loved one as a result of someone’s wrongful acts, we can answer your questions at 716-400-0000.  Please feel free to call.