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Distracted Drivers, Fatal Motor Vehicle Accidents In New Jersey

Statistics recently released in New Jersey show that, over the last decade, accidents caused by distracted drivers have increased sharply. In fact, fatal motor vehicle accidents in which driver distraction was a major contributing factor led to 1,600 deaths over the last decade. Where there has been a decrease in motor vehicle accidents as a whole, there has been an increase in the proportion of accidents caused due to drivers being distracted.

In New Jersey, 90 percent of drivers said they did assume that it is illegal to text while driving, but 30 percent also admitted to either having sent or read messages while they were driving. In order to curb this deadly behavior, authorities have launched a three-week campaign during April, in an effort to crack down on transgressing motorists. Using a cell phone to text or talk while driving is illegal in New Jersey and motorists violating the law can expect a hefty fine.

After only a week-and-a-half, it is reported that more than 3,000 motorists received summonses for using cell phones and other electronic devices while driving. Studies conducted by researchers have shown that even talking with the use of a hands-free device can lead to diminished activity in the part of the brain used for attentive driving. Using a cell phone or other electronic device while driving constitutes negligence, as research indicates that it distracts from driving, thus endangering others who share the road.

In fatal motor vehicle accidents where driver inattention or distraction was a contributing factor, the legal estates of the victims may choose to file a wrongful death claim against the negligent driver. A successful wrongful death claim may assist the family of the deceased to meet unexpected expenses arising from the accident. This can help ease a family’s financial suffering during a time when they are already emotionally hurting.

Source: nj.com, “Distracted driving linked to 1.4 million crashes in N.J. during past 10 years“, Amy Ellis Nutt, April 14, 2014