Will This New Bill Decrease the Number of NJ Distracted Driving Accidents?

Posted on August 17, 2016 at 12:00pm by

iStock_000030703104_Large (1)For many Americans, a hot cup of coffee is part of the daily commute. Soon this may change, as a bill in the state legislature hopes to reduce NJ distracted driving accidents.

When most of us think of distracted driving, we picture a young person on a phone, but the legislation is taking a more comprehensive approach. Makeup, coffee, fast food and other distractions would all land drivers a fine. To understand such drastic measures, you need to understand the issue of distracted driving in America.

Official Numbers on the Dangers of Distracted Driving

Many Americans risk their lives each day by texting, talking or eating while driving. Here are some numbers from the United States government’s official website on the issue:

  • Of all fatal crashes in the United States for drivers ages 15 to 19, 10 percent involved a distracted driver.
  • An average of 600,000 drivers are using an electric device in the United States at any given time.
  • In 2014 alone, 3,179 people were killed and 431,000 people were injured as a result of distracted driving.

The proposed bill would mean a $200 to $400 fine for first offenders, a $600 to $800 fine for second offenders and a 90-day license suspension for third offenses. The bill comes at a time when such legislation is increasingly popular.

Is a Fine Really the Answer?

Some are questioning the effectiveness of such a bill, however.

How could police officers enforce such a fine? If a driver has a coffee cup in the car, she may merely be saving it for when she gets home. How will police decide if she isn’t? Who determines if a mounted smartphone is a problem for the driver when there is also a passenger?

There are also questions about whether citizens will even comply with the ban. Of course, a driver’s decision to take his/her eyes off of the road is always unacceptable. Drivers should always comply with laws and focus on the road. And yet people across the country have been debating whether laws actually deter people from engaging in these dangerous activities. Currently, the bill is still sitting in the state house, but if it passes its results may answer important questions about the relationship between laws and driver safety.

Donald G. Targan & Associates is a New Jersey personal injury law firm that helps victims injured due to distracted driving and other forms of negligence in the Cape May and Atlantic City areas.

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