Articles Posted in Distracted Driving

NJ Texting While DrivingTexting while you are behind the wheel has been proven to be just as deadly as driving with your eyes closed. Even so, many still text and drive-including more adults every day. If you believe the biggest offenders when it comes to texting while driving are teens and young people, reconsider. Courtesy of New Brunswick Patch, and published on April 2nd, 2013, a new survey completed by AT&T shows that adults could be worse than teens when it comes to texting behind the wheel. Forty-nine percent of adults admitted to text messaging while driving. That percentage compares to 43 percent of teen drivers who admit to texting while driving.

Texting is newer for adults than for teens and has taken longer to catch on. Sixty percent of adults said they started texting while driving during the past three years. That is the case even though 98 percent of adults surveyed who responded that they text while driving believe that doing so is a dangerous habit.
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A husband and wife, both 51, were killed in a recent New Jersey car accident after a driver lost control and struck five pedestrians. According to The Daily Record, the fatal pedestrian accident occurred about three quarters of a mile from Young Israel of East Brunswick at Dunhams Corner Road and Hardenburg Lane. Officials are looking into whether the 49-year-old female driver lost control of the 1998 Toyota Avalon when her dog distracted her.

The Toyota swerved out of control, struck a utility pole, hit the five pedestrians, and crashed into a guardrail. The married couple was killed and their son has already undergone multiple surgeries for his serious injuries. The driver has not been cited for the fatal pedestrian crash.
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There are many examples of tragic car accidents that result from texting while driving. A few of these heartbreaking incidents were included in an AT&T documentary entitled “The Last Text” that poignantly showed the dangers of texting while driving. One girl was killed while reading a text from her sister that simply said “yeah.” She read the text and was ejected from her vehicle when it left the roadway. Another example involved a bicyclist suffering fatal injuries after being struck by a teenager who was sending a text while driving. In that case, the young driver was texting “LOL” when he struck the biker.

Victims of New Jersey distracted driving accidents who survive the collision often sustain catastrophic injuries. In such cases, the victim may suffer a traumatic brain injury that results in permanent mental and physical disabilities. Other victims may sustain spinal cord injuries that result in paralysis. Distracted driving accidents can result in these types of catastrophic injuries because the at-fault driver is typically so distracted that the collision occurs before the driver can even slow down.
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Nine people were injured in a New Jersey car accident, which officials say was caused by a 22-year-old woman who was texting while driving. The Journey News reports that the car accident occurred on the New York State Thruway between Exits 15 and 14B in Suffern. Officials say a 22-year-old woman was texting when her vehicle jumped a guardrail and collided with three vehicles heading in the opposite direction. She suffered head and neck injuries, a Staten Island mother and her three sons were injured in one of the vehicles, and a grandfather and his three grandchildren were injured in a second vehicle. None of the injuries appear to be life threatening.

According to The U.S. Department of Transportation, 3,092 people were killed and 416,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver in the year 2010. To combat this serious problem, New Jersey has a cell phone law. Under New Jersey Traffic Law 39:4-97.3: “The use of a wireless telephone or electronic communication device by an operator of a moving motor vehicle on a public road or highway shall be unlawful except when the telephone is a hands-free wireless telephone.”

Victims of distracted drivers may pursue financial compensation for their medical bills, hospitalization fees, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other related damages. A skilled car accident attorney will fight to hold the at-fault party accountable for all of the losses suffered by the victim.

NJ Distracted Driver AccidentNew data from the New Jersey Department of Transportation reveals that distracted driving continues to be a major issue in the state. As reported by The Star-Ledger, there were 3,287 car accidents as a result of cell phone use in the year 2007 and 3,244 New Jersey cell phone-related car accidents in 2011. This means that distracted driving accidents have remained virtually unchanged since state legislators passed laws regarding cell phone use in the year 2008.

According to N.J.S.A. 39:4-97-3: “The use of a wireless telephone or electronic communication device by an operator of a moving motor vehicle on a public road or highway shall be unlawful.” The Star-Ledger reports that about 100,000 summonses were issued since this distracted driving law was passed. Yet, the number of cell phone accidents has barely gone down.

The report also points out how Bluetooth headsets are often involved in injury accidents. Under current law, it is legal to drive while utilizing a Bluetooth headset. Unfortunately, these hands-free devices were involved in 40 percent of the crashes linked to phone use. Individuals who are on the phone, even if they are using a hands-free device, are driving distracted. Distracted driving occurs any time a driver takes his or her eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, or mind off the task at hand. Any one of those forms of distracted driving can have serious consequences.

NJ Distracted Driver LawA bill to allow prosecutors to charge people who cause injuries or fatalities while using a cell phone and driving is on its way to becoming a law in New Jersey. According to Philly.com, a 23-year-old woman encouraged lawmakers to move forward with the bill after losing her nephew and her nephew’s mother to a driver who was on his cell phone at the time of the crash. Under current law, the authorities cannot charge the party responsible for a distracted driver crash in New Jersey. The state banned handheld cell phone use six years ago, but officials are moving to raise the penalties from a mere $100 fine. The Senate is also moving to increase the fine from $100 to $200 for first-time offenders and then an increase to $400 for a second offense and $600 for a third offense.

It is clear that distracted driving continues to be a serious problem in New Jersey and throughout the United States. A 2011 report by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) found that a quarter of all drivers admitted to texting while driving. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 58 percent of high school seniors had texted or emailed while driving during the previous month of the study.

It is not clear if the bill to prosecute distracted drivers will go through, but negligent drivers can be held civilly liable for their actions. The family of someone killed in an accident involving a distracted driver should discuss their legal rights and options with an experienced car accident attorney.

NJ Texting Auto AccidentA Morris County Superior Court Judge is trying to determine if a person who sent a text message can be held liable if the recipient of the message crashes and injures others because of the text. According to a report by The Daily Record, a New Jersey judge is expected to issue a decision by the end of this month. The accident occurred the night of September 21, 2009 when a 19-year-old driver injured two Dover residents as he looked at his cell phone when he received the incoming text and crashed into their motorcycle. The New Jersey distracted driver accident victims suffered severe injuries including limb amputations.

The case began as a lawsuit against the negligent and distracted driver who caused the accident. The lawsuit was then expanded to include the 19-year-old girl who sent the text since she knew he was driving. Her defense team claims that she assumed that he would check the text when it was safe to do so. The young driver responsible for the crash has already pleaded guilty to using a hand-held cell phone while driving, careless driving, and failure to maintain a lane. It is unclear, however, if the victims will succeed in holding him civilly liable for their substantial suffering as well as his friend who contributed to his negligent driving.

When someone has suffered an injury because of a distracted or otherwise negligent driver, he or she can hold the at-fault party responsible by filing a personal injury claim. In such cases, compensation may be available for medical bills, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, disability coverage, pain and suffering, and other related damages.

NJ Cell Phone Distracted Driver CrashApril is Distracted Driving Awareness Month. According to FocusDriven.org, an advocacy group that encourages cell-free driving and urges all motorists to pledge to drive cell free and to ask others to do the same, nearly one out of every four car accidents in the United States involves cell phone use. When someone is driving while talking on a cell phone, even if it is a hands-free device, his or her brain is forced to pull focus away from the roadway to engage in conversation. Individuals who choose to drive while texting or talking on the cell phone put everyone on the roadway at risk and can be held accountable for the damages they cause.

If you have been injured in a New Jersey distracted driver car accident involving a driver who is on his or her cell phone, please call the authorities right away. If you feel pain or have been injured, it would be in your best interest to seek immediate medical attention. It is also important that you file a police report so that you get the facts on the record, as it is common for distracted drivers to deny that they were on the phone. You will want to document exactly when the accident occurred so that your personal injury attorney can request a review of the other driver’s cell phone records. If someone else witnessed the accident or saw the driver talking on the cell phone just before the collision, please make sure you take down his or her contact information as well.

Injured victims of distracted drivers can seek compensation to cover all medical expenses, lost earnings, and other damages and losses related to the accident. The experienced Princeton cell phone crash attorneys at Lependorf & Silverstein know how to prove fault and liability for an accident. If you or a loved one has been hurt in a New Jersey car accident, please contact us at (609) 240-0040 for a free and comprehensive consultation.

The federal government, for the first time, is proposing guidelines that would nudge automakers to produce vehicles that limit the distraction risk for in-vehicle electronic devices. According to a CNN news report, these guidelines issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are voluntary and would spell out specifics for electronic devices that are installed in vehicles when they are manufactured. Not allowing drivers to text or dial numbers while the car is moving is an important part of these guidelines.

NJ Distracted Driving LawThe NHTSA has come up with these guidelines after three years of careful consideration, according to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. In 2010 alone, there were more than 3,000 fatalities that were caused by distracted driving. In New Jersey, driving while using a hand-held cell phone or texting while driving is illegal. The NHTSA is also considering additional guidelines in the future that might address the issue of electronic devices that are not built-in, but may be brought into the vehicle, such as smart phones, electronic tablets, and GPS.

Distracted driving is negligent driving. If you or a loved one has been injured in New Jersey car accident caused by a distracted driver, please remember that you do have legal rights. You can seek compensation for damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses sustained as a result of the car accident.

cellphone-distracted-driving-6557101.jpgAccording to a study by The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 20 percent of all injury crashes in the United States in the year 2009 involved reports of distracted driving. The Fatality Analysis Reports System (FARS) reports that 5,474 people were killed and approximately 448,000 were injured during that same year as a result of distracted driving accidents. These staggering numbers show just how important it is for New Jersey drivers do their part to avoid driving distracted.

Distracted driving can be visual (not watching the road), manual (not holding the wheel), or cognitive (not thinking about your driving). Therefore the simplest way to avoid driving distracted is to keep your eyes on the road, your hands on the wheel, and your mind focused on the task at hand – driving.

Common forms of distracted driving include cell phone use, eating, drinking, talking to passengers, using a navigation system, changing the radio, and grooming. While these simple activities seem harmless, doing them while driving can result in a serious injury accident. It only takes a moment of distraction for a life-changing accident to occur. All New Jersey drivers would be well advised to keep their cell phone off, stay focused and not drive while fatigued, stressed, or emotional.