Working outdoors on the public roads in New Jersey comes with its risks, and employees must remain aware of careless or distracted drivers. Although carelessness while operating a motor vehicle is only a misdemeanor offense under the Garden State’s driving laws, distractions are one of the greatest contributing factors to serious roadway accidents. 

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distractions include anything that takes a motorist’s attention away from the road and from the task of driving safely. Routine distractions such as glancing at something inside the vehicle, scanning a text message or becoming involved in a phone call may all serve to divert a driver’s attention. 

Because of an increase in mobile device usage, electronic distractions are responsible for many roadway accidents. Although the wide range of devices and gadgets offer a great many possibilities for distracted driving, simply reaching for a coffee cup could also prove disastrous. 

Distraction caused motorist to strike sanitation worker 

While driving his SUV, a motorist reached for a coffee cup and struck an on-duty sanitation worker outside his garbage truck. The impact pinned the former employee to his truck and caused him to lose part of his leg, as reported by NBC 4 NY. The motorist pleaded guilty to a charge of careless driving, penalties that include a fine and 2-points added to his driving record. 

Because accidents may occur all too quickly, the act of reaching for a coffee cup took the motorist’s attention away from the road long enough to cause a life-altering event. The crash caused serious and permanent injuries, severe pain and the sanitation employee’s inability to return to his former job. The parties reached a settlement of $4.35 million, but losing a leg brings long-term challenges, such as medical treatment, rehabilitation and reduced quality of life. 

Driving distractions, whether electronic or related to eating or drinking while operating a motor vehicle, may result in life-changing events. Motorists, pedestrians and those who work on the public roads can all benefit from remaining alert. When the unthinkable occurs, however, a victim may require legal action to obtain the full compensation deserved.