Distracted driving is an epidemic in New Jersey, as elsewhere in the U.S., and it may be more dangerous now than drunk driving. DUI deaths have been reduced by a third over the past 30 years thanks to the efforts of law enforcement and activist groups, but more and more people are being distracted by smartphones, in-car navigation systems, and other technologies. A survey showed that 63 percent of motorists are more afraid of distracted drivers than of intoxicated ones.
In the same survey, 75 percent of drivers said that they see other motorists using their phones every day. Texting, talking on the phone, and talking to passengers are among the most common sources of distraction. Because current laws do not punish distracted driving as severely as DUI, for instance, many drivers do not feel motivated to break their habits.
The survey asked drivers what incentives would make them cut out phone distractions from the car. Only 39 percent responded with laws against phone use, while 79 responded with discounts from their insurance provider. Some auto insurers offer smartphone-based telematics programs to provide drivers with feedback regarding their driver performance. Sixty percent of consumers expressed a desire for this program, but only 22 percent say that their insurer has offered it to them.
Victims of car accidents who find out that distraction was involved will want to speak with a lawyer who focuses on personal injury law. If a claim is successful, the victim could be entitled to compensation for vehicle damage, physical injuries, and other losses. The lawyer could hire investigators to gather the police reports and reconstruct the accident. With proof of negligence found, the lawyer could then proceed to negotiations for an informal settlement.