Distracted Driving Statistics You Should Know About

By Greg Kohn

Experts say that many of the more than 250,000 car crashes in New Jersey every year could be prevented if people simply kept their focus on driving at all times when behind the wheel. Some people mistakenly think that distracted driving only involves texting or talking on a cell phone when driving, but any behavior that takes your eyes or attention off of the road counts as a distraction.

If you got hurt in a car accident and you think that the at-fault driver might have been distracted, a New Jersey personal injury attorney could help you seek compensation for your injuries. Here are a few of the distracted driving statistics you should know about.

Examples of Distracted Driving

The New Jersey Department of Law & Public Safety defines distracted driving as “any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving.” The Department gives these examples of actions that can constitute distracted driving:

  • Texting
  • Using a cell phone
  • Using a navigation system
  • Watching a video
  • Talking to passengers
  • Eating or drinking
  • Grooming
  • Adjusting the stereo on your car or mobile device

The Department stresses that the “most alarming” type of distracted driving conduct is text messaging because it draws the driver’s manual, visual, and cognitive attention away from the task of driving.

Key Facts & Statistics About Distracted Driving in New Jersey

The Law and Public Safety Department (LPS) offers these facts to illustrate the scope of the problem of distracted driving in our state:

  • There were almost 800,000 motor vehicle collisions in New Jersey between 2012 and 2016, in which distraction was a major contributing factor.
  • At any time during the day, more than 400,000 American drivers are using cell phones.
  • In the short time that it takes to send or read a text message, an average of less than 5 seconds, a car traveling at 55 miles-per-hour covers the length of a football field, 100 yards. With the driver’s attention diverted, this act is the equivalent of being blindfolded at the wheel while driving at highway speed for that distance.
  • One out of four teen drivers admit that they respond to at least one text message every time that they drive.
  • Whenever the driver uses a handheld device like a phone or adjusts the heating, colling, or radio while driving, the driver triples their risk of causing a crash because activities like those involve the combined distractions of visual and manual subtasks. Other activities that can fit into this category include grooming, reaching for an object inside the car, and using the GPS system.

Thankfully, the LPS Department offered one positive statistic. It appears that distracted driving fatalities went down across the United States from 2016, when there were 3,450 fatalities in these crashes, to 3,166 people killed in 2017. Assistive technology in cars and trucks could account for some of this decrease, but some people might become even less attentive if they rely on their car’s high-tech systems to warn them when they are too close to other vehicles. A New Jersey personal injury attorney could evaluate your situation and advocate on your behalf if you got injured in a car crash. Contact our office today for legal help, we offer a free consultation.

About the Author
Greg Kohn is a partner at Nagel Rice and specializes in complex civil litigation cases, including professional malpractice, personal injury, class actions, wrongful death, products liability, and commercial litigation.  He has extensive experience representing clients in both state and federal court. Greg has tried many jury trials to verdict and has recovered over $50 million in settlements and verdicts in all types of personal injury matters including automobile accidents, wrongful death cases, slip and falls, and other catastrophic injury cases. Greg also handles medical malpractice cases, involving misdiagnoses, wrongful birth, and delayed cancer diagnosis. If you have questions regarding this article, you can contact Greg here.