April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month
April is a month with many observances such as Sexual Assault Awareness Month or National Autism Awareness Month. A month-long observance you might not know much about is April being dubbed Distracted Driving Awareness Month by the National Safety Council.
Distracted driving entails any activity that diverts the driver’s attention from keeping their eyes on the road and their hands on the steering wheel. This can include texting, talking on your phone or to others in the vehicle, eating, drinking, or fiddling with your car’s entertainment or navigation systems.
The most alarming distraction is texting. When you send or read a text message behind the wheel, you take your eyes off the road for an estimated five seconds. That might not seem like a long time but driving for five seconds at over 55 mph is like driving the length of a football field without looking. You can do a lot of damage to your yourself and your vehicle, not to mention others who are traveling on the road.
In the Garden State, distracted driving is a contributing factor in 52 percent of all vehicle accidents. According to this Life360 report, New Jersey is the worst state when it comes to being distracted behind the wheel. Drivers use their phones while driving once every 4.7 miles. Our neighboring state, New York, is easily distracted too. They are the fourth worst state when it comes to distracted driving.
Let’s expand the statistics from New Jersey to the country for a moment. In 2015, distracted driving was responsible for 3,477 deaths and 391,000 injuries in the United States. It doesn’t help matters when 660,000 drivers use their phones each day while driving from dawn to dusk.
Phones, Driving, and the Law
Law enforcement throughout the Garden State will be doing their part to combat distracted drivers this month. Police departments will be involved with the UDrive, UText, UPay enforcement campaign. This national campaign uses anti-texting enforcement along with advertising and social media campaigns to let drivers know police officers will be cracking down on texting and driving. There will be an increase in police presence along all highly-traveled roadways to ensure drivers obey the law.
While texting and driving matters are not as serious as murder, it is illegal and there will be consequences if you are caught by law enforcement. The consequences are as follows:
- First offense: $400 fine,
- Second offense: $600 fine
- Third offense: $800 fine, 90-day license suspension, and motor vehicle points on the driver’s license.
You can also call or text #77 to report incidents of texting and driving or other types of distracted driving. Don’t worry. You won’t be in trouble if you are using your phone to report an actual incident of distracted driving. But, law enforcement does encourage you to pull over your vehicle to do so.
As we compiled information to share with you, we found this article that sheds more light on lesser stipulations of distracted driving implemented on a year-to-year basis.
When it comes to driving and the law, things tend to get tricky; especially in New Jersey. That is why it’s necessary to have the services of an experienced attorney on your side. The Law Offices of Anthony Carbone is here to help those in need. Contact us today for a free consultation.