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What is distracted driving?

As you drive New Jersey’s roadways, you see evidence of distracted driving all around you. You may even practice such dangerous driving habits yourself. Given the sobering statistics, however, you may wish to rethink that decision. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration reports that distracted driving claimed 3,477 lives nationwide in 2015 alone. In the same year, 391,000 injuries resulted from distracted driving.

Distracted driving is anything that takes your mind and/or eyes and/or hands away from your only purpose while behind the wheel: driving safely and defensively so as to make the roads as safe as possible for not only yourself, but also for others. Distracted driving covers a multitude of activities, including the following:

  • Talking and/or texting on your cellphone
  • Fiddling with your heater, air conditioner, radio, CD player or MP3 player
  • Reading anything inside your car, including texts or a map
  • Watching anything inside your car, including your GPS system or any other video display
  • Snacking and/or drinking
  • Combing your hair and/or freshening your makeup

One distracted driving activity you may not even think about is interacting with your passengers. However, every time you talk, laugh, sing or argue with anyone else in the car, it takes your attention away from the road, other traffic, traffic signals, warning signs and other conditions that can change from minute to minute.

Distracted driving statistics and recommendations

During every daylight hour of every day, over 660,000 drivers are using their cellphones one way or another while behind the wheel. Not surprisingly, teenagers and young adults are the most likely culprits.

The NHSTA strongly recommends that you join forces with parents, educators and employers across the country to increase distracted driving awareness. Many states and municipalities have special programs and activities designed to help drivers make the roads safer. This information is provided for educational purposes and should not be interpreted as legal advice.

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