Many New Jersey drivers today are tempted to pick up their cellphone when it rings, send a quick text message or eat breakfast while they are operating a vehicle. While using a cellphone while driving or looking away from the road for a second may seem harmless, it can have serious consequences. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1,161 people are injured and eight people die in the U.S. every day in distracted driving-related collisions.
Understanding the types of distraction
There are three primary types of distraction that can affect drivers while they are operating a vehicle. These include the following:
- Manual distraction-Drivers become manually distracted when they remove their hands from the steering wheel. For instance, drivers who reach for something on the back seat of their vehicle are manually distracted.
- Cognitive distraction-This type of distraction occurs when drivers no longer solely focus on driving. Drivers who concentrate heavily on something they have to do later, for example, are cognitively distracted.
- Visual distraction-When drivers take their eyes off of the road, they are visually distracted. For example, drivers who look at a GPS device while operating a vehicle experience visual distraction.
Although all manual, cognitive and visual distractions can put drivers, passengers and pedestrians, texting and driving is particularly dangerous because it combines all three types of distraction.
New Jersey cellphone laws
To minimize distracted driving-related car accidents on the roads in New Jersey, the state has enacted several laws relating to cellphone use and driving, states the State of New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission. For example, as of July 1, 2014, texting and driving became a prohibited activity.
Drivers who disregard this law may be fined anywhere from $200 to $400 for a first offense. For a second offense, the fine can increase to $600, and for a third offense or more, the fine can be as much as $800. While texting and driving in New Jersey is illegal, drivers are permitted to use a hands-free device sparingly as long as it does not interfere with any safety equipment in their vehicle.
Reach out to an attorney
Even though laws in New Jersey exist to protect the safety of drivers, many are still harmed in distraction-related accidents every day. Those who were injured by the actions of a distracted driver should consider reaching out to an attorney for assistance navigating the intricacies of their case.