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What is the biggest cause of distracted driving?

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What is the biggest cause of distracted driving?

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distracted drivingIf you guessed cell phone use, you’d be incorrect. Erie Insurance, a Pennsylvania based insurer examined police report data in the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, a nationwide census of fatal motor vehicle traffic crashes maintained by the National Highway Safety Administration. Of more than 65,000 people killed in crashes in the last 2 years, at least 1 in 10 involved a distracted driver. Distracted drivers engage in an activity that takes their hands or attention off of driving.

Have you ever had the experience of getting to your destination and not remembering much of the trip? A full 62% of distracted drivers are lost in thought or generally distracted. This compares to cell phone use causing 12% of accidents, looking at a person, object or event outside (7%) or talking with or looking at other people in the car (5%). All other causes range from 1-2% each and include smoking, eating, drinking, adjusting audio or temperature controls, reaching for something in the car, a moving pet or insect inside the car. Read more about this study on distracted driving at this link.

New Jersey Association for Justice has partnered with End Distracted Driving.org, founded by a Philadelphia trial attorney Joel Feldman, whose 19-year-old daughter was killed by a distracted driver as she crossed the street while walking to work in Ocean City, NJ in 2009. NJAJ attorneys are presenting programs in high schools to raise awareness about distracted driving.

What you can do

  • Be aware of the risks of distracted driving. When you are preoccupied with a problem or issue, make a conscious effort to keep your mind on the road.
  • Don’t answer your phone when you are driving. Pull over on the side of the road if you must use your cell phone. Learn more about cell phone use and distracted driving at this link.
  • Don’t sip hot liquids when you drive.
  • Don’t smoke. I smoked for 5 years when I was teenager, and remember my father repeatedly telling me to never smoke and drive. The first (and only) time I broke that rule, I was so nervous that I dropped my lit cigarette on the floor of the car. Luckily I did not start a fire.
  • Talk to your family and friends about distracted, if you are a passenger in the car of a distracted driver, speak up. Your life could be at stake. I had to tell my best friend that her texting while driving was making me nervous and asked her to stop. She nearly ran over a pedestrian at a crosswalk when she was texting.
  • Be aware of the tons of steel you are controlling and the potential for going off the road or into another car – in a blink of the eye.

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