People in New Jersey who engage in any behavior that distracts their attention when behind the wheel are referred to as distracted drivers. Such behaviors can include eating, drinking, texting or speaking on a cell phone, adjusting the radio or navigation system or talking to other occupants in the vehicle.
The activity that seems to be the most distracting is texting. Reading or sending a text requires drivers to remove their gaze from the road for 5 seconds. For a vehicle that is traveling at 55 miles per hour, it is similar to having one’s eyes closed while driving the length of a football field.
People are unable to drive safely unless they have their full attention on driving. Any activity not related to driving qualifies as a distraction and increases the likelihood that a crash will occur.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is spearheading the fight against distracted driving to prevent the consequences of the behavior. In just 2015, the number of fatalities attributed to distracted driving in the United States totaled 3,477. The number of people who sustained injuries that same year due to distracted driving totaled 391,000.
The NHTSA provides educational resources to inform drivers about the dangers related to distracted driving and also collaborates with local and state law enforcement to impose regulations against the activity. The agency also conducts campaigns and releases public service announcements to convince drivers that in order to drive safely, they cannot be distracted.
A personal injury attorney may advise clients injured in motor vehicle accidents caused by distracted driving about their legal options. Litigation may be used to hold the negligent parties financially liable for injuries, medical expenses, loss of wages and pain and suffering that resulted from an accident caused by a reckless or distracted driver.