Rollover accidents on the rise, cell phones likely to blame
by Susan Gager
KWCH 12 Eyewitness News
7:57 PM CST, November 19, 2012
Rollover accidents have more than doubled in Kansas since 1998. Law enforcement say the increase has happened since people started using cell phones while driving. Take a look at some these numbers.
Wichita Police Department Lt. Joe Schroeder will tell you electronic devices are increasingly to blame for car accidents. However, the Kansas Highway Patrol says it's hard to prove cell phones are to blame in a rollover accident. "The only people are able to provide information about the crash, are the occupants in the vehicle. So if it was due to cell phone conversation or texting, it's very likely we're not going to be able to find out that information," said Kansas Highway Patrol trooper Gary Warner.Despite this, driving instructors have changed the way they teach. "A lot of my young students to have a concept that 10-15 years ago we didn't have these devices. Everybody has them now. Young people are just more likely to be distracted," said Behind the Wheel driving instructor Kent Winterhalter. He says put it away or pull over safely to use electronics. "I'd like to think I'm helping people and that I'm contributing to less accidents in Wichita," said Winterhalter.
In 1998 more than 1,800 rollover accidents happened in Kansas. In 2003, when people started using cell phones rollover accidents increased to about 4,300. And the most recent numbers from 2008 show an average of 4,100 rollovers a year.
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