Advances in technology have contributed to the now growing phenomenon of distracted driving. This is not just the case in New Jersey, but nationwide. New Jersey State Police have indicated that distracted driving continues to be the top factor in crashes in the state, year-after-year. An analysis of 2016’s crashes in New Jersey reveals that distracted driving was a factor in 217 of 570 fatal collisions.
Distracted driving is not just using a cellphone while driving. It also includes actions such as trying to restrain pets, talking to passengers, attempting to change channels on the radio, grooming, reaching to pick something up off the floor and smoking. There are three categories of distractions, cognitive, visual and manual. Cognitive distractions happen when a driver takes their mind off the task of driving. Visual distractions happen when the driver takes their eyes off the road and does not pay attention to where they are going. Manual distraction is when a driver removes their hands from the steering wheel.
Any task or distraction that takes a driver’s attention away from driving can be deadly — sending a text, talking on a cell phone, using a navigation system and eating while driving are a few examples. However, texting is particularly deadly as it combines all three distractions at once and increases the risk of getting into a crash by three times.
While many drivers are aware that distracted driving is dangerous, it is difficult to get people to change their behaviors. Often, people think that nothing could happen to them. However, statistics point to a different reality. Using cellphones while driving can be fatal. Driver inattention was a major contributing cause in 800,000 crashes between 2012 to 2016.
Driving, talking, texting and using any e-device is not safe. The level of cognitive distraction remains the same, and instead of paying attention to the road, drivers devote their attention to the device. Multi-tasking is not possible.
New Jersey has implemented a distracted driving tip line, accessed by punching #77. In its first two months of operation, the tip line logged over 1,000 calls, resulting in 600 drivers getting warning letters from State Police.
According to New Jersey law, it is illegal for drivers to talk on a cellphone or text while driving, unless the phone or device is in hands-free mode. Fines for distracted driving are $200 to $400 for a first offense, $400 to $600 for a second violation, and $600 to $800 for a third or subsequent violation.
Petrillo & Goldberg know the dangers of texting and driving and have seen clients whose lives have been turned upside down by a distracted driver. Accident survivors seeking compensation for their injuries caused by a negligent, distracted driver and/or compensation as a result of wrongful death in a collision caused by a distracted driver should contact Petrillo & Goldberg. At Petrillo & Goldberg Law, we know the obstacles you face to get your life back on track after an accident. We do not stop until we get you the compensation you deserve.
If you have been involved in an accident with a distracted driver, do not wait to contact Petrillo & Goldberg Law to find out what your legal rights are and how to file a claim for compensation. We help personal injury victims obtain the compensation they deserve and are available for a free consultation at our Pennsauken, New Jersey office. Also, we can be reached by phone at (856) 249-9288.