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Being a distracted driver goes beyond not watching the road

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Distracted driving happens in a variety of ways, and there are many issues that arise from it. The number of people who are injured and killed in an auto accident is increasing nationwide because of it, and those in New Jersey and throughout the U.S. must be cognizant of the danger that accompanies the behavior. When there is a car accident and it is believed to have been due to a distracted driver, evidence accrued proving that as an issue can be utilized in a legal filing for compensation.

In 2016, there were more than 40,000 fatalities on the road in the U.S. The number of drivers who own a smartphone had risen to 80 percent by 2014. This was an increase of 28 percent from just three years earlier. Unfortunately, it is likely that drivers will look at their smartphone while behind the wheel. Even those who do not do so while driving and limit the behavior to when they are at a stopped might not realize that the distraction continues even after they have stopped using the device.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic & Safety conducted research into how long the distraction continues and found that there is a feeling comparable to a hangover with the mind remaining distracted for as long as 27 seconds after voice-to-text technology was used. What happens is known as "inattention blindness" where they are watching the road in front of them but not actually seeing what is in front of them. Although companies are trying to formulate additions to devices that will increase safety, AAA believes that having guards that will turn off these systems while the vehicle is in motion are needed to reduce distraction. Voice-activated systems might be an attempt to increase safety by allowing drivers to maintain a field of vision that is on the road, but it does not stop drivers from being distracted.

Even as attempts are made on the part of state authorities to reduce the incidence distracted driving, the technology is moving too fast for there to be effective enacting of laws and the enforcement of them. These numbers and the research of people who are distracted behind the wheel has made the roads less safe. Those who are injured in any kind of a crash need to understand that there is the possibility that the driver was distracted, as this information can be important in a legal case. Speaking to an attorney who is experienced in seeking compensation for car accidents due to a distracted driver can help with an investigation and filing a claim.

Source: cnbc.com, "Driving while distracted comes with a 'hangover' effect, AAA says," Erin Barry, March 12, 2017

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