Despite awareness campaigns and laws geared toward reducing distracted driving, it remains a preventable cause of a significant number of motor vehicle accidents each year. The New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety reported cell phone usage was a factor in more than 800,000 crashes in the state from 2011 to 2015. Across the nation, 3,166 people died in 2017 in crashes involving distracted driving.
In spring 2019, New Jersey police launched an enforcement campaign aiming to target distracted driving in the state. The initiative, titled “UDrive. UText. UPay” lasted for about three weeks, and during the 2018 campaign, police issued more than 13,000 tickets for cell phone usage.
The staggering number of violations issued during the campaign demonstrates how distracted driving remains a serious safety issue on the roads. It is the cause of many personal injury lawsuits, where a distracted driver injures someone as a result of their negligence. If you’ve been injured in a motor vehicle accident because of a distracted driver, it’s imperative to understand the legal ramifications in potentially pursuing a lawsuit.
What is Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving is often discussed in the context of calling someone on the phone or texting while driving, but there are many other ways drivers can take their attention off the road. Distractions can be categorized as visual, manual, or cognitive.
Visual distractions are anything that takes the driver’s eyes off the road. This includes looking at a GPS device or passengers beside or behind them, or glancing at their phone. While it may seem like a quick diversion away from the road is harmless, a car traveling 65 miles per hour travels almost the length of a football field in just three seconds, plenty of time and distance for an accident to occur.
Manual distractions require a driver to take one or both hands off the wheel. For example, if a driver is trying to eat breakfast in the car on the way to work, they may reach down to grab their food, and then maintain just one hand on the wheel while they eat. Other examples include texting while driving or adjusting the radio.
Cognitive distractions cause a driver to take their mind off driving and prevent them from demonstrating the level of concentration needed to drive safely. While this could also include a manual distraction such as talking on the phone, cognitive distractions can also involve emotional states where someone is not able to focus on the road, such as being incredibly angry or stressed about a situation in their life in a way that steals their attention.
Hire an Expert Legal Team for a Distracted Driving Injury
Distracted drivers in New Jersey injure thousands on the road every year, leading victims to experience pain and suffering, missed time from work, or permanent disabilities. A personal injury attorney from the team at Dansky | Katz | Ringold can fight for you to obtain compensation for your injuries.
Even if you believe the other driver is clearly at fault, you need the representation of an attorney. The defendant’s legal team could seek to reduce the amount you are awarded through shared fault laws, by trying to demonstrate how your negligence contributed to the accident.