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Do you text while driving? A third of New Jersey drivers do

If you think the texting while driving trend is limited to teenagers, you haven't been watching. Maybe you've been distracted?

According to Plymouth Rock Assurance, fully 33 percent of New Jersey drivers surveyed admitted to texting while driving, and that's the highest percentage the company has seen so far in the three years it has been performing the study. 

Other driving misbehavior was surprisingly common, as well. The insurance company partnered with independent research consultants and an online survey provider to poll 1,000 people with New Jersey drivers' licenses who drive at least once a week. Beyond the third who admitted to having texted while driving, New Jerseyans also said they had driven while distracted, drunk or under the influence of narcotics in the past. Here's a rundown of the percentages of those who:

  • Had driven under the influence of alcohol: 11 percent
  • Had driven under the influence of narcotics: 3 percent
  • Had talked on a hand-held cellphone while driving: 38 percent
  • Tuned the radio while driving: 82 percent
  • Programmed a GPS navigation system while driving: 23 percent
  • Performed personal grooming tasks while driving: 8 percent
  • Took a "selfie" while driving: 4 percent
  • Made a video while operating a vehicle: 3 percent

Here in New Jersey, both texting while driving and using a hand-held cellphone behind the wheel are prohibited. If you're caught sending or receiving texts behind the wheel, or talking on a cellphone that doesn't have hands-free capabilities, you could face a fine of at least $200 on your first offense. That said, the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Division discourages drivers from using even hands-free cellphones.

Any distraction behind the wheel is dangerous, yet the variety of enticing distractions seems to be ever-growing. Do yourself and everyone a favor: keep your eyes on the road and your mind on your driving.

Source: Insurance Journal, "Plymouth Rock Survey: 1 in 3 N.J. Drivers Report Having Texted While Driving," April 22, 2015

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