Incidences of teen distracted driving in New Jersey is on the rise, along with concerns over the problem. In 2011, 3,331 people lost their lives and another 387,000 were injured in crashes that involved distracted driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Now, new technology may help curb distracted driving incidents, according to research recently presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting.
The dangers of distracted driving
The study was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which has found car crashes to be the top cause of death among teenagers in the United States. Using a cell phone while driving can increase the risk of a crash 24 times. This study looked at how cameras in vehicles and a device that blocks incoming and outgoing calls on a smartphone could lessen the likelihood of an accident.
Researchers from the University of Washington looked at 29 teens that used the in-vehicle camera, a combination of the camera and the blocking device, and those that used no deterrent. The young drivers were monitored for risky driving behaviors, such as hard braking or fast cornering, as well as cell phone use behind the wheel. They found the teens who had the interventions were less likely to engage in risky driving behavior and used their cell phones much less than the group that did not have any interventions.
Texting & driving laws nationwide
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 48 out of 50 states impose some sort of cellphone ban while driving. Most states have a texting ban for all drivers, while three states, Texas, Oklahoma and Missouri have a texting ban for new drivers. A number of states have included a ban on handheld phone use of any kind, in addition to their texting ban. The only states that do not have any such legislature at this time are Montana and Arizona.
The GHSA has also issued tips on managing driver distraction. These include turning off the cell phone and storing it out of reach in the car, pulling over if a call becomes necessary, and asking your passengers to make a call or text for you. In addition, drivers are encouraged to commit to never texting while driving and spread the word about the dangers of distracted driving.
Researchers of the current study are hopeful that their work will illustrate how technology can be used to limit exposure to distraction and minimize risky driving and accidents. In addition to making teen drivers safer, the technology could make the roads safer for all motorists. While this study was on a relatively small scale, researchers believe that any factor that can lower the risk for distraction-related car accidents should be carefully weighed.
Distracted driver accident lawyers in Bergen County
The team at Eisbrouch Marsh applaud any and all efforts to curb teen distracted driving in New Jersey, because we are all too aware of the devastating impact cell phone-related accidents can have on drivers and their families. We help victims file car accident lawsuits to win compensation for medical bills, lost wages and other non-economic losses.
- National Conference of State Legislators, Distracted Driving, http://www.ncsl.org/research/transportation/spotlight-distracted-driving.aspx
- AAP News, Outsmarting Smartphones: Technology Reduces Distracted Driving among Teens, http://aapnews.aappublications.org/content/early/2015/04/27/aapnews.20150427-2
- Governor’s Highway Safety Administration, Distracted Driving, http://www.ghsa.org/html/issues/distraction/tips.html
- Health Day, Smartphone App Blocks Teens from Texting, Phoning while Driving, http://consumer.healthday.com/kids-health-information-23/adolescents-and-teen-health-news-719/cellphone-blocking-app-may-curb-teen-crashes-698832.html