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Distracted Driving Deaths Underreported

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EUGENE, Ore. — A study released by the National Safety Council suggests distracted driving deaths are being underreported.

Police say the study makes sense because investigating the cause of a crash is a difficult process that sometimes leaves them without answers.

You’re glued to it everyday. That little device that connects you to the world.

But when investigating a crash, police can have a hard time figuring out whether you were paying more attention to your cell phone than the road.

“It’s hard to determine. It’s just one of those things that you look for and that you’re not always going to find even though you might think it’s there. It’s a difficult thing to see,” said Patrol Sgt. Alan Gilbert, Oregon State Police.

He says most crashes are speed or alcohol related, but distracted driving is a problem. And most of the time when emergency crews arrive on scene, they’re left without many clues.

“Whatever they were eating was gone or the kids are no longer acting up in the backseat. You’re not going to know that as an officer so is that not reported? It’s just something we could not tell when we arrived,” Gilbert said.

It’s that lack of evidence he says is right in line with the study from the National Safety Council. The study looked at 180 deadly crashes from 2009 to 2011 in which there were strong evidence a driver had been using a cell phone.

Residents KEZI 9 News spoke with say way too many people are driving distracted.

“A lot of people do it so much that they feel so comfortable doing it. like it’s just natural to them. you it’s just another thing they learned how to do. but that doesn’t make it safe,” said visitor Sean Blair. “You want to be able to multi task and get a lot of things done and it just seems easy to drive and get those things done when in reality you should just wait until you’re parked.”

Police remind drivers to limit all of your distractions while driving.

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