April is Distracted Driving Month
Distracted driving is a scary problem in the United States. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an estimated 660,000 drivers use some type of electronic device while they drive during the day. In 2015, 391,000 people were injured by distracted driving and 3,477 were killed. That’s nearly 10 deaths per day caused by a distracted driver.
There are three types of distractions:
- Visual, when the driver is not looking at the road;
- Manual, when the driver’s hands are not on the steering wheel; and
- Cognitive, when the driver is not thinking about driving.
A driver may be distracted in more than one way at the time of an accident. Using a cell phone while driving is especially dangerous, because it involves all three types of distractions.
Other common examples of distracted driving include eating and using a GPS device.
Who is most at risk of being involved in a distracted driving accident?
When it comes to deadly traffic accidents, drivers under 20 years of age are involved in the most crashes. One survey, conducted in 2015, revealed that 42 percent of high school students texted or emailed while driving. The researchers asked high school students to report their driving habits for the survey.
The survey further revealed that students who admitted they frequently texted while driving were more likely to ride in a car without wearing a seatbelt, to ride with a driver who had been drinking, and to drive after consuming alcohol.
What can be done about distracted driving?
Many states have enacted laws that prohibit the use of cell phones while driving. Some states are stricter than others. For example, New Jersey bans drivers from even holding a phone while they operate a motor vehicle. Complete cell phone use is banned for school bus drivers, as well as those with intermediate licenses or learner’s permits. All drivers are banned from texting.
However, simply because there are laws in place does not mean that drivers will follow them.
Parents should discuss the dangers of texting and driving with their teenagers, and they should set a good example. Parents should put their phones away while they drive, should not eat while driving, and should have a passenger manage a GPS device. Teenagers learn many behaviors from their parents, so if they see their parents practice safe driving habits, they are more likely to do the same.
Many schools have enacted Students Against Destructive Decisions chapters that help students with many challenges that face them, such as substance abuse and peer pressure. These chapters also provide valuable information about how to stay safe while on the road. Currently, there are more than 10,000 chapters and more than 400,000 students in the organization.
What if I was injured by a distracted driver?
If you or a loved one has been injured by a distracted driver, you may be entitled to damages. In New Jersey, negligent drivers are held accountable for the harm they cause other drivers and passengers. Accident victims must show that the at-fault driver was negligent and that the victim was injured because of it. Distracted driving, drinking and driving, and failing to obey traffic laws are all examples of negligence.
If the victim prevails in the claim, a variety of damages, such as medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering may be awarded.
If you have been injured by a distracted driver, contact leading New Jersey accident lawyers to maximize your compensation
At Leonard Legal Group, our New Jersey accident injury attorneys are experienced in all types of motor vehicle accident claims, including those involving distracted drivers. To schedule a free consultation to learn about your legal rights, call our 24-hour call center at 973-984-1414 or contact us online.