According to the Centers for Disease Control, every day nine people die due to vehicle crashes involving distracted driving. In 2020 alone, over 3000 people died due to distracted driving on American roadways. And distracted driving has been determined as a top cause of New Jersey car accidents. This number has remained steady since 2017. Despite this alarming statistic, drivers continue to talk on their phones, text, and perform countless other distracting and dangerous actions while they’re behind the wheel.
With the holidays approaching, nothing is more important than staying safe on the road, so I want to take this opportunity to warn you of the most dangerous types of distracted driving and how you can prevent them. If you or a loved one is injured after an auto accident with a distracted driver, working with a Northern New Jersey car accident lawyer can be in your best interests. Get in touch with Buttafuoco & Associates today to discuss your case.
What is Distracted Driving?
When we think of distracted driving, our minds immediately go to our phones: texting or talking in traffic. But in reality, there are many types of distracted driving, several of which are frequently overlooked despite the dangers. The CDC defines distracted driving as any activity that takes your attention from the process of driving.
They also define three categories of distracted driving: visual, manual, and cognitive.
- A visual distraction includes any time you remove your eyes from the road–quickly looking at the clock, putting on makeup in your rearview mirror, or turning to break up a fight between kids in the backseat.
- A manual distraction causes you to remove your hands from the steering wheel–texting, changing the radio station, using the navigation system, or eating and drinking.
- A cognitive distraction occurs when your mind is not focused on driving. Even if you seem to be looking straight ahead with your hands on the wheel, if your mind is elsewhere, you could certainly cause a distracted driving accident.
At Buttafuoco & Associates, our Northern New Jersey car accident attorneys see far too many distracted driving accidents in our offices. They often result in serious injuries, expensive medical bills, chronic pain, and suffering. If you find yourself in this situation, don’t hesitate to reach out to us right away.
How Can You Prevent Distracted Driving?
Whether you are the driver, the passenger, or the parent of a young driver, there is a lot you can do to stop distracted driving.
As the driver, your attention should be focused solely on driving. Adjust your mirrors, make phone calls, and read your email before you begin your trip–not while you’re on the road. You can also use apps to silence your cell phone, including these reviewed by the Department of Motor Vehicles. They can block calls and texts, and some even reward safe driving, which can be great for new drivers.
If you are the passenger and notice the driver is distracted, don’t stay quiet. Ask them to focus on driving. You can also help the driver with things that could cause distractions: answering or silencing their cell phone, helping with directions, or selecting new music can all help you stay safe.
Young people between the ages of 15 and 20 are more likely to be distracted than those 21 and older. In fact, surveys report that nearly 40 percent of high school students admit to texting or emailing at least once in the past 30 days.
If you have children who are new drivers, set a good example, recommend the apps above, and remind them that their phones are not the priority while driving.
How Can a Car Accident Lawyer Help?
There may be many occasions when you need Northern New Jersey car accident lawyer after a motor vehicle accident with a distracted driver. Due to New Jersey no-fault laws, your own insurance companies will always be the first point of contact, and your insurer will pay for damages, regardless of who was at fault for the accident. However, if you have suffered a serious injury in the accident and will face lifelong disability or disfigurement because of it, you can file a lawsuit for compensation.
A personal injury lawyer can also help if your insurance company is refusing to pay fairly and is lowballing you. In this case, an attorney can help you negotiate with the insurance company so you can afford to pay your medical bills and receive lost wages.
It is often in your best interests to work with a lawyer because they can gather evidence to prove that the driver was distracted, and that this distraction caused the accident. Evidence can be difficult to gather and argue on your own, but a good lawyer will have significant experience in this arena.
At Buttafuoco & Associates, we believe in treating all of our clients like our family. If you have been injured by a distracted driver, get in touch with our car accident lawyers in Northern New Jersey today for a free consultation.