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Distracted-Driving-Crashes-Underreported-ImageDistracted driving might be an even bigger problem than it seems.  A new study shows that most car accidents caused by distracted drivers are incorrectly reported.

According to a new study by the National Safety Council, a nonprofit organization aimed at preventing injuries, crashes in cases where drivers were using a phone or wireless communication device are seriously underreported.  NSC studied state and federal crash data and determined that more than half of the crashes were coded incorrectly in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s accident database.

For example, of the 180 crashes NSC reviewed from 2009 to 2011 in which there was strong evidence that the driver had been using a cellphone, only 8 percent of the 2009 accidents and 35 percent of the 2011 crashes were properly coded.  Even in cases in which the driver admitted to using a cellphone during the accident, about half of those weren’t recorded as involving a cellphone.

In Florida, Osceola County reports that there were 1,681 distracted driving crashes in 2012.  However, as the NSC report suggests, this number might be off.  Regardless, Florida lawmakers hope to reduce the number of distracted driving crashes in the coming years.

Both the House and Senate have passed legislation to ban texting while driving, and the bill is now on the desk of Governor Rick Scott, awaiting his signature.

For more than 35 years, injury attorney Philip DeBerard has been protecting the rights of people injured by other drivers across South Florida.