The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration defines distracted driving as “any activity that diverts attention from driving, including talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, talking to people in your vehicle, fiddling with the stereo, entertainment or navigation system — anything that takes your attention away from the task of safe driving.”
A recent survey from the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety shows that nearly 70% of the participants indicated they used a mobile device while driving in the last 90 days. The top 3 distractions were: talking on the phone/texting/video calls; social media, and; recorded/live-streamed/watched a video. Among participants, more than 30% indicated that they have either been in or know someone who has been in a crash that occurred while the driver was using a mobile device.
According to a recent study from the NJ Division of Highway Traffic Safety in collaboration with Rowan University, in New Jersey distracted driving contributed to almost 25% of fatal crashes. New Jersey is among the top 5 states which experience a rate of vehicle crashes due to distracted driving higher than 15%. Researchers used detection of driver behavior from cameras outside the car to collect data. The data collected showed that cell phone use was the leading distracted driving behavior, followed by eating/drinking. Most crashes occurred between 7am and 6 pm, with the highest rate between 4pm -6pm. Researchers analyzed a number of other variables including type of road and time of day. Click here to see their complete findings.
Among the strategies used to discourage distracted driving, enforcement is currently underway in NJ. The U Drive. U Text. U Pay high visibility enforcement effort will last until the end of the month. Law enforcement will be enforcing texting and distracted driving laws to make roads safer. Violating the distracted driving laws can be costly. Fines between $200 – $400 for a first offense, $400-$600 for a second offense, and $600-$800 plus three points and up to 90 days license suspension.
Don’t chance it. Drive smart – heads up, phones down.