Distracted driving is a leading cause of automobile accidents in the United States. Emerging as a fundamental factor in driver error, attention to the road decreases as ownership of mobile communication devices soars. In New Jersey, texting while driving is against the law.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports disturbing distracted driving statistics including:
- Drivers using hand-held devices are four times more likely to be involved in injurious accidents
- Texting increases car accident risk by 23 percent
- Attention split by cell phone use diminishes attention to the driving task by 37 percent
- Hands-free communication does not reduce distracted driving
Since the widespread introduction of cell phones, the U.S. has seen an increase in people injured by drivers paying more attention to mobile devices than the road in front of their cars. As distracted driving campaigns attain equal footing with drunk driving messaging, the NHTSA is stepping up efforts to detect drivers who continue to text while driving.
In October 2012, the NHTSA announced federal aid to Connecticut and Massachusetts to fund high visibility pilot programs to enforce anti-texting laws. Using stationary, roving and overpass patrols, these states hope to pioneer enforcement techniques for adoption by other states.
The NHTSA estimates 800,000 people using hand-held cell phones during daylight hours are driving cars in the United States. We agree with the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety: no conversation is worth a ticket or your life. Hang up, just drive and arrive alive.