Most drivers are aware that if involved in a motor vehicle accident, an accident report must be made to the state. If they are not aware, that probably just means they have not yet had an accident. Failure to file the report can actually result in prosecution and payment of a fine or even imprisonment. In addition to the driver’s accident report, however, the appropriate police agency is also responsible for investigating the accident and making its own report.
The biggest thing on a driver’s mind when an accident occurs is usually who was at fault, so drivers may assume that finding fault is the reason for the reports. However, while accident reports may contribute to citations being issued and be provided to insurers for fault determinations, these are not the primary reasons for the reports.
The state has an obligation to ensure that the design, maintenance, and operation of its roadways promote the safety of travelers. Naturally, feedback on how well the public is traversing those roads highlights for highway engineers and law enforcement personnel problems that might be corrected. The information collected on accident reports is recorded into a database that allows the appropriate governmental organizations to analyze it and take steps to improve highway safety. This collected information is commonly known in the traffic safety community as crash data.
One of the most common aspects of driver safety, for example, is speed. Highway engineers establish speed limits based on physical characteristics of a roadway. But if accident reports show many accidents that are attributed to speed of travel, the limit may be reduced.
Accident data is also used to improve confusing road signs. Sign locations or design that create driver confusion is noted in accident reports This helps highway engineers to design better signs, implement better placement, or make other improvements that will impart clear information to drivers.
In addition to these specific uses, crash data serves the more general purpose of providing state and national statistics of highway accidents, injuries, and fatalities. The statistics are used to measure the effectiveness of various issues in the transportation sector, such as new safety features on vehicles,
Accident reports are not just a useless exercise in bureaucratic red tape. Rather, they play an important role in the government doing its job of improving road safety for all travelers.
If you or a loved one have been injured as the result of someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. We understand the physical and emotional burden that accidents cause, and we will help guide you to a favorable resolution of your case. For a free case evaluation, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Wright Pichon & Gray.