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Risk of distracted driving caused by cellphone use

New Jersey distracted driving laws make it illegal for a person to text message on a cellphone while driving. Such laws were enacted to keep the highways safe, as the use of cellphones while driving is linked to frequent fatal and non-fatal accidents.

Overall, nearly 20 percent of fatal crashes that occurred in 2010 were associated with distracted driving while 416,000 individuals were injured as a result of driving while distracted. Young adults 18 to 20 said they were texting when the accident happened. In fact, texting while driving makes an accident 23 times more likely to occur, according to the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. A survey done by the Pew Research Center shows that 40 percent of teens were in a vehicle when the driver used a cellphone putting the occupants at risk.

With statistics such as these, federal and local agencies and safety organizations are working together to alert consumers about the dangers of distracted driving and building technology to reduce it. Parents are urged to have household rules and discussions about the risk of driving while distracted. Above all, parents should adhere to the same rules to encourage younger household members by their example. The prevalence of car accidents caused by a distracted driver shows that many drivers are ignoring the rules. In New Jersey, talking or texting is a primary offense, and if a police officer sees a driver doing it, he or she can stop the vehicle.

Causing a car accident while breaking the law may indicate negligent behavior. This might result in both physical and financial injury for the victim. Consulting an attorney to file an action to recover funds spent for medical care and lost time at work due to the injuries may be beneficial.

Source: FCC, "The dangers of texting while driving ", November 14, 2014

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