Distracted driving is a major roadway danger

Distracted driving has a serious impact on roadway safety in New Jersey. Every day, across the country, nine people lose their lives and 100 more are injured, often severely, in motor vehicle collisions linked to drivers who are distracted or inattentive. There are a number of causes of distracted driving. Perhaps the best-known is texting or surfing the internet while using a cellphone behind the wheel, but smartphones are not the only problem. Some drivers are easily distracted by the touchscreen entertainment and GPS systems built into many newer vehicles while other accidents and problems on the road outside the car are common reasons for driving while distracted.

The costs are significant. Car crashes linked to distracted driving rack up $40 million annually. In comparison, accidents caused by driving under the influence cost $44 million every year. Despite widespread public service advertisements and awareness campaigns aiming to decrease the danger linked to driving inattentively, drivers continue to behave dangerously behind the wheel. Almost half of all drivers openly admitted to texting or surfing the internet while operating a vehicle in one survey while 60% admitted to using their mobile phones in other ways. Younger drivers are most likely to admit to driving while distracted.

There are three main types of distracted driving. Visual distractions take a driver's eyes away from the road, focusing instead on a phone, screen or external event. Manual distractions remove a driver's hands from the wheel, such as when sending a text. Cognitive distractions divert a driver's attention and mind from the road.

Motor vehicle accidents linked to distracted driving can cause life-changing injuries. People injured in a crash through no fault of their own may turn to a personal injury lawyer to pursue compensation for their lost wages, medical bills and other damages.

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