New Jersey roads had 542 fatal car accidents last year, and authorities are citing distracted driving as a main cause. Although 2013 had 48 fewer deaths than 2012, distracted or inattentive driving remained a primary cause of fatal accidents, surpassing even speeding and drunk driving. An annual analysis by New Jersey State Police shows that driver inattention was responsible for 164 fatal car accidents last year.
Middlesex County had 52 fatal accidents, the most in the state. Data also shows that distracted driving has been a main cause of fatal car accidents since 2008, but authorities are confident that they can bring those numbers down and possibly save lives.
What Is New Jersey Doing About the Problem?
State officials are going to use education to inform the public on the dangers of distracted driving, much like the telecom giant AT&T, who has the “It Can Wait” campaign against texting and driving. In addition to education, police will be handing out warnings to drivers who are texting behind the wheel.
New Jersey will utilize federal funds to put together the resources for the fight against distracted driving. By educating and warning people that texting and driving is a leading cause of death, New Jersey may have some success in bringing down the high number of fatal car accidents.
Has Distracted Driving Become a National Issue?
The high numbers of fatal accidents in New Jersey has become an unfortunate trend across the nation. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration numbers estimate that 421,000 people were injured in motor vehicle accidents that involved a distracted driver.
Every day across the country, over 660,000 drivers are using their mobile phones behind the wheel. Young drivers make up 10 percent of all motorists involved in a fatal accident where distracted driving was the main factor.
Many states, including New Jersey, are likely to emulate existing federal programs to reduce the high number of fatal accidents from distracted driving. Most programs are going to place an emphasis on younger drivers, as they make up the largest number killed or injured by distracted driving accidents.
What Are the Penalties for Texting and Driving?
In New Jersey, it is illegal to use a handheld mobile device while driving. Commercial drivers cannot use handheld mobile phones or hands-free phones. Texting while driving is also specifically banned in New Jersey. Drivers who hit someone while they are using a mobile device may open themselves up to the possibility of both criminal and civil charges.
Spevack Law Firm – Middlesex County Personal Injury Attorneys
Did You Know? When you text and drive, your eyes leave the road for five seconds. At 55 mph, five seconds is almost the length of a football field.
You can read more about traffic data and distracted driving in New Jersey by visiting NJ.com.