National Telephone Survey of Reported and Unreported Motor Vehicle Crashes
Report No.DOT HS 812 183
NHTSA publishes crash statistics based on police accident reports, but many crashes are never reported by the police. In 1981 NHTSA sponsored a telephone survey to estimate the incidence of unreported crashes. That survey estimated 47 percent of crashes go unreported. In 2008 NHTSA paid for an updated survey, reported here. The present survey, completed in 2010, collected data on 2,299 crashes, 697 of which were unreported to police. When the data were properly weighted, the participant responses indicated that approximately 30 percent of crashes go unreported. In both surveys, the crashes were mostly property-damage-only crashes, although some unreported injury crashes were found. However, the data in this report is only one aspect of the unreported crash problem. See Chapter 5 of The Economic and Societal Impact of Motor Vehicle Crashes, 2010 (DOT HS 812 013), for a more thorough explanation of this problem.