Texting and talking on cellphones creates driving dangers

Drivers in New Jersey may not know that distracted driving can be cognitive, visual or manual in nature. That means that a driver can be distracted by thinking about other things as well as taking their eyes off the road or their hands off the steering wheel. Occasional distractions may be common, but distracted driving causes nearly ten deaths and more than 1,000 injuries per day.

In 2011, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did a study on distracted driving in the United States and compared it to patterns in some European countries. The agency found that nearly 70 percent of drivers between the ages of 18 and 64 indicated that they had driven while talking on a cellphone within the 30 days prior to participating in the study. Research suggests that even a hands-free cellphone conversation can be dangerously distracting, and sending text messages is even more dangerous. Texting drivers generally take their eyes off the road for up to five seconds, and this can mean that the vehicle travels a a significant distance at higher speeds.

Handheld cellphone use for talking or texting is banned in New Jersey. There is a particular danger for younger and less experienced drivers who are less able to compensate for the distraction. They tend to be in more fatal crashes as a result.

An individual who is in a car crash caused by a distracted driver may wish to consult with a personal injury attorney to determine what remedies may be available. A lawsuit against the responsible party could result in the award of damages that could cover medical expenses, the costs of repair for any resulting property damage as well as compensation for lost wages.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Distracted Driving", accessed on Jan. 26, 2015

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