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Police reports fail to collect enough crash data

California and other states are doing a poor job of collecting motor vehicle accident data, according to a new report by the National Safety Council. As a result, it is more difficult for traffic safety organizations to prevent car crashes.

The NSC reports that no state in the nation fully collects the data needed by safety experts to analyze crashes and come up with effective ways to prevent them. For example, no state accident reports have a place for law enforcement officers to record driver fatigue levels at the time of an accident. In addition, 32 states fail to record a driver's hands-free cellphone use, 32 states fail to record specific drug types following a driver's positive drug test, and 26 states fail to record a driver's texting activities. Meanwhile, all 50 states fail to record a driver's use of driver assistance technologies, 47 states fail to record a driver's use of in-vehicle infotainment systems and 35 states fail to record a teen driver's license restrictions. Six states, including California, fail to record alcohol impairment levels below .08, which is the legal limit.

Overall, the NSC recommends that 23 separate crash factors be recorded on all police reports following an accident. Both Kansas and Wisconsin include 14 of those factors, which leads the nation. However, Maryland, Kentucky and Nebraska include just five of the factors. U.S. traffic deaths have hit at least 40,000 for the last three years in a row. It is difficult to uncover the true causes of these accidents without adequate crash data.

Car crashes can cause a variety of serious injuries that require extensive medical treatment. When the accident was caused by the negligence of another driver, victims might want to have legal assistance when seeking compensation for their losses.

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