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What is distracted driving?

If you think distracted driving laws only apply to cell phone use, think again. From 2010 to 2014, almost 800,000 vehicular accidents have been associated with distracted, or inattentive, drivers. These accidents have been caused or influenced by drivers engaging in mobile phone calls, texting, conversing with passengers, eating, drinking, navigating, grooming, watching videos, or adjusting sound and entertainment systems. Anything that requires the manual, visual, or cognitive attention of a driver is distracted driving.

Manual distractions include reaching for coffee or soda. Visual distraction includes looking at your clothing or car upholstery when you've spilled that coffee or soda. Cognitive distraction is when you start thinking about what to do about your soiled clothing and wondering whether you should go home and change, or think about whether the coffee stain can be removed from your clothes or car interior.

The dangers of distracted driving

Although a recent survey conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that 90 percent of drivers recognize distracted driving as a danger, 35 percent of these drivers admitted they had sent or received text messages during the past 30 days. Additionally, 88 percent of those surveyed deemed talking on a cell phone was dangerous yet two-thirds of them admitted they had used a cell phone while driving in the past 30 days.

Distractions such as mobile phone use take attention away from the mechanics and mental tasks of driving, leaving the driver ill prepared to deal with obstacles, speed limit changes, aggressive drivers, and accidents that have happened or are about to happen. It is virtually impossible to be a defensive driver when attention is diverted due to distraction. Drivers can end up causing an accident, failing to prevent an accident, or making their passengers vulnerable to a reckless driver if they are not fully engaged in the act of driving.

It is illegal to use a cell phone while driving in Pennsylvania and New Jersey

Pennsylvania and New Jersey are among the many states that have issued a total ban on hand-held mobile phone calls and text messaging while driving. In Jew Jersey, school bus drivers and those with provisional licenses or permits are not allowed to use mobile phones of any kind, including those connected via bluetooth or speaker.

At Friedman Schuman, our experienced attorneys will help you determine whether distracted driving played a role in injuries or damages you may have incurred. No two cases are alike making it imperative that you contact us if you've been involved or hurt in a distracted driving accident. Call Friedman Schuman today and let us help you.

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