We all know that distracted driving puts others at risk, causing an increasing number of motor vehicle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and accidents with motorcycles. But what is less known is that distracted driving is also a major cause of injuries to first responders.
A survey conducted by the National Safety Council and the Emergency Responder Safety Institute reports that, in the United States, when drivers observe an emergency vehicle responding to an accident or fire on the side of the road, almost three quarters of them – 71% –take videos or photos. And that’s not all. Sixty-six percent of those drivers then proceed to send an email about the situation and sixty percent post those pictures or videos to social media – all while driving. And while roadside encounters with emergency vehicles may not be every day occurrences, the distracted driving behavior during normal driving conditions is alarming.
In the survey, almost a quarter of drivers admitted to taking photos or video or sending an email while they were behind the wheel. Another 29% of drivers conceded using social media while driving, and more than one in ten drivers admitted to either striking or almost striking an emergency vehicle or first responder stopped on or near the roadside.
Injuries to first responders
First responders face significant risk of injury when they tend to a situation roadside. In order to provide assistance to those in need, first responders exit their vehicles on active roadways. Doing so puts them in harm’s way when an oncoming motorist does not move over or chooses to video the scene while driving by. In 2018, forty first responders were killed on the side of the road — a 60% spike from the previous year. In the first quarter of 2019, twenty one emergency responders died from fatal injuries sustained in collisions.
Move over laws
All 50 states have “Move Over Laws” which specify the actions a motorist is required to take when observing an emergency vehicle at the side of the road. In New Jersey, motor vehicles are required to move over to a non-adjacent lane or slow down when they approach a stationary authorized emergency vehicle, highway maintenance vehicle, tow truck, or emergency service vehicle that is exhibiting flashing lights traveling in the same direction. In spite of “Move Over Laws” in every state, according to the Nation Safety Council Survey, almost a quarter of the drivers said they did not know that there are laws concerning what a motorist must do in these situations.
Injured due to distracted driving in NJ? We can help
Distracted driving has become increasingly commonplace and injuries and fatalities resulting from this negligent behavior are on the rise. If you or a loved one has sustained injury due to distracted driving, we can help. The accomplished legal team at Leonard Legal Group, LLC is dedicated to protecting the rights of injured victims, successfully advocating on their behalf for just compensation for the injuries they have sustained. We are available to answer your questions, discuss your case, and present your options. Schedule a confidential consultation with a member of our team by contacting our office at 973-984-1414 or scheduling online.