Common Distracted Driving MythsNew Jersey Legal News
It only takes a few seconds of distraction to cause a severe crash involving a pedestrian, cyclists, motorcycle, or another car. When we get behind the wheel, driving the car safely and alertly should be our priority.
Despite improvements being made in vehicle design each year, motor vehicle fatalities in 2017 rose by nearly 6 percent in 2015, with more than 40,000 roadway deaths. A major contributor to these catastrophic and deadly crashes is distracted driving.
Roadway distractions seemingly come from all directions. A majority of these distractions can be simply avoided by just avoiding the use of the cell phone, dashboard infotainment, and even voice commands altogether. It just takes a few seconds of distraction to trigger a major collision. When a car travels at 55 miles per hour, it travels the length of a football field in just one second. If you’re not concentrated on steering during that second, anything you come across during that time is at risk. Because distracted driving can be a legal grey area, there are many myths people hold onto regarding the topic.
Myth #1: People Are Skilled Multi-Taskers
Try multi-tasking while holding a conversation and watching a show on TV. You may be able to take in bits and pieces of both, but you won’t be able to process both completely, let alone simultaneously. Multi-tasking at home can be frustrating, but multi-tasking while operating a motor vehicle can be potentially life-threatening.
Myth #2 – Conversations with Passengers Are Not Risker than Regular Conversations
This isn’t true. Car passengers can add extra eyes and ears, helping alert the driver of any potential roadway hazards that the driver could have missed, while people on the phone could be completely blind to what’s going on.
Myth #3 – Hands-Free Devices Are Safe Behind the Wheel
This isn’t the case. With any phone conversation, we usually miss up to 50 percent of what’s happening around us — such as red lights, stop signs, pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcycles.
Myth #4 – Using the Phone While Stopped at a Traffic Signal Is Fine
Again, this isn’t the case. Even stop lights are unsafe for using a phone, texting, or sending a voice text. Studies from the AAA show that after the end of a call or text, we stay distracted for more than 27 seconds. That basically means we can be distracted when traveling the length of 27 football fields while traveling at 55 mph. A distracted driver with a 3,000-pound vehicle traveling that distance can potentially become a deadly weapon.
Myth #5 – Using Voice to Text While Driving Is a Safe Alternative
Nope. The seconds required to confirm the voice transcription, and make any corrections, makes it extremely distracting while driving. We need to remind ourselves to stop engaging with our phones and car dashboards to keep the roads safe — for the sake of ourselves, our families, and innocent bystanders.
Distracted Driving is Against the Law in New Jersey
New Jersey has some of the strictest laws governing distracted driving. Cell phones without hands-free systems are completely forbidden. Texting behind the wheel is also forbidden. Drivers with learning permits or provisional-licenses are not allowed to have phone calls entirely, even with hands-free systems. The same is true for school bus drivers. An officer can pull over any driver who violates any of New Jersey’s distracted driving laws — even if there are no other motor vehicle infractions. Don’t be one of the 100,000 drivers across the Garden State who receive a summons for distracted driving each year.
Be Safe at All Times
When we have to take the time to make a call, you should pull over, park your vehicle, and turn it off. When you do, you’re more likely to get where you’re going safely. Start a habit of turning off the phone while driving and silencing your phone. Avoid costly tickets and get to where you’re going safely.
According to the National Safety Council’s Driving Checklist, drivers should:
- Turn off cell phones. There is no safe way to make a call while behind the wheel – not even with a hands-free system
- Send and read text messages and emails before you start driving
- When traveling on long trips, schedule breaks to stop, park safely, and respond to messages
- Put your destination into your GPS before you start driving
- Pause your social media use. No update, tweet, or video is worth a life; and
- Do not call or text friends or family if you know they are driving.
If you’re involved in a car crash and believe that the other driver may have been distracted, you should contact a qualified New Jersey car crash attorney to discuss your legal options.
Distracted Driving Crashes in New Jersey
Distracted driving is one of the fastest causes of serious car accidents across the country. Each day, nearly 1,000 people are injured by distracted motorists on the road. An estimated 4,000 victims are killed each year in distracted driving collisions.
All drivers hare a duty of care to prevent causing injury to others on the road. When drivers use cell phones, talk with passengers, or engage any other form of distracted behavior, they can be found in breach of this obligation. Injured victims should consult with an experienced New Jersey car crash attorney to discuss their possibility of pursuing lost compensation for their injuries.
The legal team at Brady, Brady, & Reilly, LLC is here to help you recover the compensation you deserve after being injured by a distracted driver. We believe that no innocent victim should have to cover the costs associated with an accident caused by the negligence of another driver. Contact our law offices today at (201) 997- 0030 if you or a loved one has been unfairly injured in a serious collision. We are here to help you protect your rights after a serious accident.