A small private school in Washington Township, New Jersey recently achieved a large undertaking by winning $2,500 for their campaign to reduce the number of distracted drivers on the road. The 760 students at the all-girl elementary and middle school managed to obtain 1,000 pledges from adults that promised to refrain from texting and cell phone usage while driving. Seventy-five schools in the state competed for the prize money that was awarded to the school with the most pledges.
According to the Federal Highway Traffic Safety Administration (FHTSA), car accident fatalities and injuries have been rising steadily over the past three years. Distracted driving has been cited in a large majority of recent motor vehicle accidents. While car accidents for drivers under the age of 21 have declined over the past five years, the numbers for older, more experienced drivers have increased. New Jersey State Police reported 200 fatal car accidents in New Jersey in 2015 and 2016 that involved drivers between the ages of 40 and 64.
In a recent study, the AAA Foundation for Safety found that drivers who talked on a cell phone while driving were four times more likely to be involved in a car accident and those who chose to text and drive were eight times more likely to crash. While most people would assume that younger drivers were more at risk for distracted driving accidents, recent statistics show that older drivers are dying on the roadways more often than those under 21 years of age.
Legislators in New Jersey have focused on educational components and stiff penalties to deter teens from distracted driving. Driver safety programs have focused on showing the harsh consequences of texting or using a cell phone while driving. Under New Jersey’s Graduated Driver License program (GDL), first year drivers are prohibited from driving past 11:00 p.m. or from driving with more than one teenage passenger in the car, unless they have a licensed adult driver onboard.
To make using a cell phone even less tempting, new drivers are forbidden to use electronic devices of any kind, including hands-free devices. A red sticker on their license plate identifies them as first year drivers, which helps law enforcement officials enforce regulations. Violators face stiff fines and penalties that can even result in an extension of the GDL restrictions.
New Jersey motor vehicle administrators concerned with the rising number of car accident fatalities for older drivers plan to focus on education and stricter penalties for distracted drivers. The older generation of people between the ages of 40 to 65 who have been driving for 25 years or more are most likely unaware of the new laws regarding road safety. Ignorance of the dangers associated with cell phone usage and texting while driving can lead to serious and fatal car accidents.
If you or someone you love has been injured by a distracted driver, you may be entitled to compensation. The experienced New Jersey car accident lawyers at Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP can help you claim the maximum amount of compensation available under the law. Call us at 732-777-0100 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation today. Our Edison, Red Bank, and Toms River, New Jersey offices serve clients throughout the state.