Aug 14 2017

Cell Phone Records and Car Accidents 

As your auto accident lawyers, we want you to know it is now standard procedure to obtain the cell phone records of the responsible party in cases involving car accidents.  The number of car accidents  linked to cell phone usage, both telephone conversations and texting, is staggering. According to one study, 28% of traffic accidents occur when a driver is using a cell phone.  Consequently, it is critical to obtain a driver’s cell phone records involving a motor vehicle or any car accident case. One typically obtains cell phone records through a subpoena to the driver’s cell phone provider.


The goal is to determine whether the driver was using their phone at the time of the accident. This is powerful evidence that the driver may have been distracted. The driver’s cell phone distraction as cause of the accident, is much easier to support with these records.

Using cell phone records to establish a driver was on the phone at the time of the accident can be challenging.  Every second will often be important  to establish that the driver was using the cell phone at the time of the accident.   Further, that he did not end the call before the accident.  Expert witnesses will have to be called to analyze  cell phone records.  Hence determining the actual starting and ending times for calls.


It is important to understand the main issues that arise when analyzing cell phone records. While the records produced by the different cell phone providers vary, they usually provide at least the start and end time of the call.  Therefore, you must determine what the times on the cell phone records represent.

Another important issue is the source of the starting and ending times for a call. Typically the times are on record using the clock from the cell site or tower that processes the call. The problem is the times on the various cell sites are not synchronized. As a result,  there may be timing discrepancies between the different cell sites. Being aware of the issues that exist with cell phone records is essential when analyzing whether the cell phone was in use at the time of the accident.