New Jersey has some of the busiest roads and highways in the country, and distracted driving continues to be a problem on most of them. Distracted driving is a factor in numerous motor vehicle accidents throughout the state, many of them involving serious injuries or fatalities.
Under New Jersey law, distracted driving is defined as anything that takes your attention away from your primary task of driving. You should always keep both hands on the wheel and your eyes solely focused on the road ahead.
You probably associate distracted driving with using your cell phone, but there are several activities that are considered distracted driving that do not involve your phone at all. These things significantly increase your chance of an accident.
Distracted driving laws involving your cell phone
Cell phones do remain a major contributor to distracted driving accidents. Using a handheld mobile device is illegal in New Jersey, but even using your cell phone in a hands-free manner is a form of distracted driving.
While hands-free use of your cell phone is legal and reduces your chance of being in a distracted driving accident, it is best to refrain from using your cell phone in any manner while driving.
When you can use your cell phone while driving
There are some situations where you are legally allowed to use your cell phone when driving. You can use it to call 911 in case of an emergency, to report an accident or an unsafe driver on the road or if you believe you are about to be the victim of a criminal act.
If you do see another vehicle driving erratically and the driver appears to be a danger to other drivers, you should call 911 and report the driver and vehicle.
Other types of distracted driving
Some other forms of distracted driving include:
- Adjusting your air conditioning, heat, GPS or radio
- Talking to a passenger
- Watching something on a screen
Surprisingly, simple daydreaming is the most common distraction among New Jersey drivers. Being anxious about the day ahead on your way to work or having a lot of things on your mind while commuting at the end of the day are things that can distract you from safe driving.
Help for victims of a distracted driver
If you do find yourself the victim of an accident caused by distracted driving, you may face a tough road ahead, filled with high medical costs, you may lose time from work and major pain and suffering.
Distracted driving is a form of negligence. Victims of negligence could receive compensation for these and other losses from a distracted driving accident by filing a personal injury claim.
Proving negligence can be challenging and there are many factors to consider. Working with an experienced personal injury attorney can help you establish negligence, assert your legal rights and obtain necessary compensation.