Smith + Schwartzstein
Located In Morristown, NJ and New York, NY

Motorists concerned about distracted driving risks

Is there any good news about the problem of distracted driving here in the United States? There may be some, as the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reports that drivers are aware of the problem and are concerned.

The foundation's yearly Traffic Safety Culture Index indicated 88 percent of motorists perceive distracted driving to be an increasing problem, ahead of other driving dangers such as aggressive driving (68 percent), drugged driving (55 percent) and driving while intoxicated (43 percent).

An ongoing problem

Even with that awareness, however, the problem persists. In fact, there has been a 30 percent uptick in the number of drivers self-reporting cellphone usage while driving in the last five years.

Almost 50 percent of motorists admit that they recently used their hand-held cellphones behind the wheel. Almost 35 percent also reported that they sent emails or texts while they were driving.

In a stunning example of cognitive dissonance, almost 58 percent of drivers stated that use of cellphones while driving presented "a very serious threat to their personal safety," and 78 percent acknowledge sending or reading texts behind the wheel presents significant dangers.

They're right, as data from research done by the AAA Foundation illustrates that those who text and drive have eight times the collision risk of motorists who simply concentrate on the road ahead. Those chatting on cellphones have as much as four times the likelihood of being involved in a wreck.

Younger drivers are particularly at risk, as research from the foundation discovered that in as many as 58 percent of collisions involving teen drivers, distracted driving played a significant role. That is 44 percent higher than the estimates by than federal government estimated.

Be proactive about driving safety

The following safety tips may keep motorists safer:

  • Stash your electronic distractions to avoid temptation.
  • Make sure that kids and pets are securely anchored in car seats or kennels while driving.
  • Anything loose in the car that could cause drivers to lose focus should also be secured.
  • Before turning the key on your vehicle, make all adjustments to mirrors, radio, seats and climate controls and pre-program GPS systems.
  • Pull over to eat and drink or go inside a restaurant for your meal.

Was your accident a result of another driver's distraction? Seek recourse through the New Jersey civil courts.

Source: Record Herald, "Distraction tops list of growing dangers for drivers," March 29, 2018

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