The flip phones of the late 1990s and early 2000s seem ancient in today’s world. In fact, many teenagers would have no idea how to send a text message on one. Cell phones quickly evolved from a device used to make calls and send a few messages to miniature computers that contain most of our personal information. We use our phones for banking, to keep up with friends on social media, to check our children’s grades, and even to watch our security cameras at home. Needless to say, most of us do not like being without our phones for more than a short while. It is unsurprising that the majority of traffic accidents in New Jersey is caused by texting and cell phone use.
The New Jersey Department of transportation keeps track of the number of traffic crashes caused by cell phone use—even those that are using their devices “hands free,” such as by pairing it with the Bluetooth system in one’s vehicle.
In 2017, 1,134 accidents were caused by the use of handheld devices. More than 400 injuries were reported in these accidents, and two deaths occurred. Approximately 361 accidents were attributed to the use of hands-free cell phone use. No fatalities occurred in these accidents, but 160 injuries were cited.
Why is texting while driving so dangerous?
There are three primary types of distractions that may occur while driving:
- Visual distractions
- Manual distractions
- Cognitive distractions
Visual distractions are those that require the driver to take his eyes off of the road.
Manual distractions occur when the driver takes his hands off of the wheel.
Finally, cognitive distractions are those that cause the driver to think about other things while driving.
Texting while driving is so dangerous because it encompasses all three types of distractions. Sending or receiving a text message requires the driver to look away from the road, take his hands off of the wheel, and think about the message or its response.
Although using a cell phone (unless in hands-free mode) is illegal in New Jersey, it is responsible for thousands of crashes every year.
Avoiding the temptation of using a cell phone while driving
Even ten years ago, we did not expect our friends and family members to answer every call or to respond to us immediately when we sent a text message. Therefore, it is reasonable to refuse to use your phone while you are in your car.
Many cell phones now have a “Do Not Disturb” mode that you can switch on while you are driving. Doing so silences incoming calls and notifications and reduces your urge to look over at your phone’s screen.
Another good practice is to keep your phone somewhere where you cannot reach it—in the glove box, in the backseat, or even in the trunk.
Many experts also recommend that drivers avoid phone calls, even in hands-free mode. Even the act of talking on the phone can be distracting. Many drivers have reported missing a turn because they were talking on their phones in hands-free mode.
Remember, calls and texts can wait until you reach your destination. Your loved ones would much rather you wait to respond than be injured—or worse—in a crash.
If you have been injured by a distracted driver, contact our experienced accident lawyers today for a free consultation
At Lomurro Law, our New Jersey accident attorneys hold distracted drivers accountable for the injuries and deaths they cause. To schedule a free consultation with our experienced personal injury attorneys, call 732-482-9285 or contact us online.