GHSA report: States enhancing efforts to curb distracted driving

There is little disputing that traffic fatalities are an epidemic that plague our roadways. In fact, there were over 550 traffic deaths in New Jersey alone in 2010, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. And, while these numbers are quite tragic, it is even more distressing to learn that many of these needless deaths could have been easily avoided had the drivers involved in the accident simply paid more attention to the road.

For instance, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 3,800 people were killed in distracted driving motor vehicle accidents in 2011 – with over 380,000 additional individuals injured. In many of these accidents, a person could still be alive today had the driver merely avoided distraction while behind the wheel.

Fortunately, a report recently released by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) has discovered that more states are increasing their efforts to battle distracted driving within their own borders. Indeed, according to the report, 39 states now identify distracted driving as a “priority issue” – a 43 percent increase from only three years ago.

Moreover, 47 states are making additional strides in their educational programs geared towards informing the public of the hazards of distracted driving. For example, many states are now utilizing social media – such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter – to get the message across that distracted driving is extremely dangerous.

Interestingly, the report also notes that although no state currently has a complete ban on cellphone use while driving – which is a major source of driver distraction – 41 states at least ban texting while driving, compared to only 28 states in 2010.

Thankfully, New Jersey is one of the states that does, in fact, ban texting while driving. New Jersey also prohibits talking on handheld cellphones while behind the wheel, although hands-free phones are permitted. In addition, lawmakers in New Jersey recently increased the penalties for violations of their handheld-cellphone and texting-while-driving bans

Remedies available following distracted driving accidents in New Jersey

Hopefully, these recent efforts will do a great deal in reducing distracted driving accidents throughout the nation, including here in New Jersey. There are so many lives that can be saved, and injuries prevented, if drivers merely paid more attention to the roads.

However, if you or a loved one has already been injured in a distracted driving car accident, it is important for you to know that remedies may be available to compensate you for your damages, including medical costs and lost wages. Consequently, it is often imperative to contact a knowledgeable motor vehicle accident attorney in order to learn what your rights and options may be given your particular circumstances.

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