Distracted Driving Remains a Major Cause of NJ Traffic Fatalities


A recent fatal accident in Bergen County is a vivid example of the scourge of distracted driving that is afflicting New Jersey. A Ferrari sportscar going down a main road T-boned an SUV turning from a side street in Teaneck, killing the SUV’s driver. The police investigation cited unsafe speed and inattention by the Ferrari’s driver as the combined cause of the collision.

Unfortunately, this type of fatality due to distracted driving is an all too frequent occurrence on New Jersey’s roads. According to the State Police, distracted driving was the single most common cause of fatal motor vehicle accidents in 2020, accounting for 163 out of 587 traffic deaths. In fact, New Jersey is among the states with the percentage of traffic fatalities caused by distracted driving.

A Rowan University study published in December 2021 documented a dismaying prevalence of distracted driving on NJ highways. Teams of observers in trucks with cameras mounted on their roofs logged almost 15,000 miles on 10 highways with high accident rates. The teams took note of eight different types of distracted driving and used videos from the cameras as a check on the accuracy of that accounting.

Among other things, the study found that:

  • 21 to 25 percent of drivers observed were distracted.
  • Use of hand-held cell phones was the number one cause of distracted driving, followed by reaching to adjust the radio or to grab an object and by eating or drinking.
  • A majority of crashes caused by cell phone use involved the distracted driver rear-ending another vehicle.
  • Drivers are most likely to be distracted in the summer and also during peak commuting times, when the roads are most densely packed with vehicles.
  • Speed increases the severity of crash injuries.

The study recommends a two-pronged approach to combat the problem: (1) increased enforcement and (2) a media campaign to educate the public about the dangers of distracted driving.

You can help avoid accidents of this nature, not only by paying close attention to your own driving but also by watching out for other drivers who seem to be engaged in distracted driving behavior. If you’re hurt in a collision with a distracted driver, you need an auto accident lawyer who understands how to prove that driver’s fault and win the damages you deserve.

With our offices located in Ridgewood, Seigel Law is one of northern New Jersey’s premier personal injury law firms. Our attorneys are highly experienced in winning compensation for victims of traffic accidents. We will give your case our prompt and thorough attention, as we strive to achieve the best result we can. Call us at 201-444-4000 or contact us online for a consultation.


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