You have seen them sitting in traffic on your daily commute: the person in the car next to you at the stoplight checking his email; the woman that drove by in the next lane, obviously texting on her phone. Distracted driving is responsible for a significant amount of car accidents all across the country. This is why many states, including New Jersey, have enacted very tough distracted driving laws. However, are these laws enough to protect you and your family from becoming the victims of someone that chose to take a phone call instead of paying attention to the road?
In 2014 over 430,000 people were involved in car accidents as a result of distracted driving. For five consecutive years, this was the number one cause of fatal crashes in New Jersey. Distracted driving happens when the person operating the vehicle engages in an activity that is not related to driving. This can include anything that causes the driver to take one's eyes off the road, hands off the steering wheel, or one's mind to wander.
It's rare to be able to get where you want to go without traveling by car, truck, bus or other motor vehicle, but every time you get behind the wheel, you're at risk of being involved in an accident. In the United States, distracted driving leads to around 421,000 injuries every year; around 37,000 people are killed as a result. Things as simple as checking a text message can take five seconds or longer; in five seconds, your vehicle, going 55 mph, travels the length of a football field. For this entire time you aren't looking at the road, so you don't know what is coming up ahead of your vehicle.
When drivers are distracted, even for a few seconds, it can put others at risk. This is especially true of truck drivers. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), drivers of commercial vehicles are 23.2 times more likely to be involved in a safety-critical event when texting.
When drivers fail to obey traffic laws and pay attention, they put lives at risk and must be held accountable if they are responsible for causing an accident. In Monmouth, New Jersey, those who drive while distracted increase the likelihood of car accidents claiming more lives. As a result, people need to remember the importance of being responsible and paying attention every time they get behind the wheel.