Increased use of smartphones has made distracted driving one of the major causes of accidents in the United States. Accidents due to distracted driving have seen a spike in recent years. Many drivers use smart phones for directions, as well as talking, texting, and video calls to others while driving. Although cellular phones are to blame for the recent spike in accidents due to distractions, distracted driving has been a common cause of accidents even in years past. Although everyone is prone to distracted driving, teen drivers have been found to be especially prone.
The State of New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety reported that distracted driving was a major factor in motor vehicle crashes in the state. Approximately 69 percent of drivers between the ages of 18 to 64 claim that they used a cellular phone while driving. Texting while driving makes an occurrence of an accident 23 times more likely. It is estimated that texting causes one to look away from the road ahead for approximately five seconds, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Common Distractions on the Road
Anything that acts as a diversion and distracts a motorist from focusing on driving is classified as distracted driving. As mentioned previously, one of the most dangerous distractions today is texting while driving. However, other distractions include talking to passengers, adjusting the dial on the radio, grooming one’s hair or applying makeup, watching videos on a phone, eating while driving, or finding directions on the GPS device. Distracted driving can also be categorized into the following categories:
- Cognitive: This type of distraction involves mental distractions, such as daydreaming or inattention while driving.
- Manual: This type of distraction involves the motorist taking their hands off the steering wheel.
- Visual: This type of distraction involves the driver’s vision, such as when a motorist looks away from the road ahead to focus on something else.
Liability for Distracted Driving in Automobile Crashes
Because distracted driving has become a major cause of automobile accidents today, many police officers and automobile accident investigations focus on whether the driver was inappropriately using a cell phone while driving. Often in litigation, phone records are subpoenaed, and law enforcement officers seek authority to obtain cell phone records to determine the cause of the accident.
Many police officers also view video footage from traffic cameras to ascertain if the driver was on their phone when the accident occurred. While investigating accidents also look for evidence of other distractions in the car, any evidence that the driver was distracted can be used to prove liability in a lawsuit. If it is found that the driver was using their phone while driving, causing the automobile accident, their contributory negligence will be a factor in determining liability and damages.
New Jersey Law Laws Regarding Cell Phone Use
It is illegal to use a hand-held cellphone while driving in the state of New Jersey. A police officer is authorized to pull over a motorist for simply using a hand-held cell phone, even if the motorist has not violated any other traffic laws. In New Jersey, teens are banned from using a hands-free device while driving.
New Jersey also has some of the highest penalties for those caught violating cell phone laws. A first-time offense can incur a fine of $200 to $400. A second offense can incur a fine of $400 to $600 and does not include court costs. A third and later offense can incur fines between $600 to $800, as well as additional motor vehicle points and a possible 90-day license suspension.
Ocean Township Car Accident Lawyers at the Falcon Law Firm, LLC Advocate for Victims Injured in Distracted Driving Accidents
If you were injured in an accident with a distracted driver, contact an Ocean Township car accident lawyer at the Falcon Law Firm, LLC. Our dedicated attorneys strive to provide strong and thorough legal representation to pursue the best outcome for our clients. For a free consultation, call us at 732-660-1200 or contact us online. Located in Oakhurst, Parlin, and Aberdeen, New Jersey, and Doylestown, Pennsylvania, we represent clients throughout Belmar, Deal, Ocean Township, Point Pleasant, West Long Branch, Sayreville, Middlesex County, Monmouth County, New Jersey, as well as Bucks County, Pennsylvania.