New Jersey Distracted Driver Car Accident Attorney
Distracted driving is one of today’s leading public safety issues. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), every day an estimated nine people die and 1,153 people are injured nationwide in vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver.
Between 2004 and 2013, there were approximately 3 million motor vehicle accidents in New Jersey. Virtually half of them involved distracted drivers. Over 1,600 people were killed during the same time period and distracted driving was cited as a major factor. During the years following 2013, New Jersey’s distracted driving problem is getting progressively worse, reaching epidemic proportions.
In response to the surge in distracted driving accidents, 60 police departments across 10 New Jersey counties were given $5,000 to start a new Division of Highway Traffic Safety program to tackle distracted driving — “U Drive. U Text. U Pay.” That campaign, funded and developed by the NHTSA, asked that the money be used for increased patrols and setting up more checkpoints.
New Jersey’s distracted driving laws are considered to be among the toughest in the United States. Drivers must use hands-free cellphones and are banned from using video or texting while driving. Those with learner’s permits or under 21 years of age are barred from using any wireless electronic devices, such as hand-held/wireless cellphones and tablets.
When people talk and/or text while driving, they take their focus off the task of driving, which puts everyone’s lives in danger: the distracted driver and the person(s) they may hit and injure, or kill. Research by the University of Iowa Public Policy Center has shown that brain scans of test subjects using a hands-free cellphone, while behind the wheel of a simulated vehicle, showed a 37 percent reduction in the parts of the brain needed to focus on driving, leading to “inattention blindness.”
Distracted driving can be more egregious than simple negligence and may rise to the level of recklessness. Before an accident happens, the person choosing to use a cellphone while behind the wheel made a conscious decision to be reckless, to text, talk, surf or check their social media accounts. Negligent and reckless individuals must be held accountable when they injure others because they chose to use a mobile device while driving.
Text messaging demands manual, visual and cognitive focus from the driver, making it the most dangerous activity for drivers. It also increases a driver’s odds of being involved in a crash by 23 times. While a distracted driver takes their eyes off the road, on average a time of five seconds, they can travel the length of a football field.
Distracted driving is not just the result of using an e-device while driving. Distractions may include:
- Using GPS
- Using an MP3 player
- Adjusting the radio
- Talking to passengers
- Picking something up off the floor
- Personal grooming
- Using a computer
- Reading maps