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Distracted driver is a recipe for disaster in New Jersey

Law Offices of James M. Curran

It is estimated that distracted driving caused 3,477 road fatalities across the country in 2015. In the same year, 391,000 people were injured in accidents because drivers were distracted. There is little doubt that a distracted driver is a disaster in the making.

New Jersey drivers who are not giving their full attention to driving and engage in activities not related to driving have an increased chance of being involved in an accident. Distractions can range from chatting with passengers, eating, drinking, using a cell phone or playing around with the navigation, stereo or entertainment systems. In short a distraction is anything that can divert attention from the task at hand — driving safely.   

Texting while driving is a significant concern. A driver reading or sending a text is forced to look away from the road for an average 5 seconds. If the driver travels at an average speed of 55 mph, the 5 seconds compares to driving the total length of a regular football field with his or her closed eyes.

Across the United States there are programs creating awareness regarding the dangers of distracted driving. State authorities are constantly working on awareness campaigns, calling on parents, teens, teachers and employers to all assist in warning drivers, leading by example and instituting safe policies. Unfortunately, eradicating the problem will never happen, at least not in the foreseeable future.

New Jersey law allows for victims of a car accident caused by a distracted driver to file personal injury claims, while the legal estate of deceased victims may file wrongful death claims. In such cases, the plaintiff will have to provide appropriate evidence that the defendant was negligent. Victims and/or their families may benefit from consulting a personal injury lawyer experienced in dealing with such cases for an evaluation of their individual cases and advice on how to proceed.  

Source: nhtsa.gov, “Distracted Driving“, Accessed on June 28, 2017

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