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Distracted Driving Overview
Distracted driving kills. The friends, family, and neighbors of the thousands of people killed nationwide each year in distracted driving crashes will tell you it is a very serious safety problem. The nearly half a million people injured each year will agree. Distracted driving is a dangerous epidemic on New Jersey’s roadways, being cited as a major contributing factor in nearly 800,00 motor vehicle crashes in the state from 2012 to 2016. Nationwide 3,166 people were killed in distracted driving crashes in 2017 alone.
Distracted Driving Key Facts and Statistics
Distracted driving is any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving. All distractions endanger driver, passenger, and bystander safety. These types of distractions include:
Using a cell phone or smartphone
It is a primary offense for a motorist to talk or text message with a hand-held wireless telephone or electronic communication device while driving.
Use of a hand-held wireless telephone or electronic
communication device includes, but is not limited to:
Talking or listening to another person.
Text messaging or sending an electronic message.
The penalties associated with these infractions have
been adjusted in New Jersey to the following:
Second, third and subsequent offense penalties will
be applicable only to convictions that occur within the
current ten-year period.
The operator of a motor vehicle may use a hand-held wireless telephone while driving with one hand on the steering wheel only if:
The operator has reason to fear for his/her life or safety, or believes that a criminal act may be perpetrated against him/herself or another person.
The operator is using this device to report to appropriate authorities: a fire; traffic crash; serious road hazard; medical or hazardous material emergency; or another motorist who is driving in a reckless, careless or otherwise unsafe manner or who appears to be driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Eating and drinking
Talking to passengers
Reading, including maps
Using a navigation system
Watching a video
Adjusting a radio, CD player, or MP3 player
But, because text messaging requires visual, manual, and
cognitive attention from the driver, it is by far the most alarming
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