In this day and age technology has become such a huge part of our lives. It influences each and every one of us primarily for the better but that is not always the case. In this past century the use of cell phones and other handheld devices have increased significantly. Along with that so has the amount of distracted driving. In the state of New Jersey there is a handheld ban for all drivers. Novice drivers under the age of 21 are banned from cell phone usage whether it is hand held or hands free. There is a ban on texting for all drivers. These are the three primary laws that exist in New Jersey. This does not stop distracted drivers however.
Distracted driving is defined as “the practice of driving a motor vehicle while engaged in another activity, typically one that involves the use of a cellular phone or other electronic device”. It basically translates to if any activity is being conducted that takes the drivers attention away from the road, that is a classification of distracted driving. Examples of distracted driving include but are not limited to, texting, using a cell phone, taking a selfie, using a hand held device, adjusting the radio or music system, watching a video or going through pictures, adjusting the navigation system, reading, talking to passengers and doing ones hair or makeup even (Distraction.Gov). Some of these examples might sound ridiculous, but they all do contribute to distracted driving in one-way shape or form. There are three types of distracted driving. These are, visual, manual and cognitive. Visual distractions are when you take your eyes of the road. Manual distractions are when you take your hands of the wheel. Cognitive distractions are when you take your mind of the task of driving. Texting is a form of all three. (PADD.org). Distracted driving is so dangerous because it not only affects the driver, but the passengers and the innocent bystanders as well. The number one contributory factor in causes of death of crashes involving distracted drivers, as well as the biggest concern of organizations that are against distracted driving is the use of cell phones and texting. In 2012 alone, 3,328 people were killed in distracted driving crashes, a number that continues to go up (Distraction.Gov). The spread of technology and the increase of distracted driving on our roadways have created an epidemic that is greatly affecting the population. There is no doubt that statistics clearly show how dangerous distracted driving can be. In 2012, there were over 400,000 people that were injured in car accidents involving a distracted driver, which is significantly higher than the 387,000 in 2011 (Distraction.gov). Although this is a problem for people of all ages, drivers under 20 years of age seem to make up a large portion of the distracted drivers. For drivers ages 15-19 involved in fatal car accidents, 21% were using a cell phone at the time of the cars (NHTSA). Text messaging creates a crash risk 23 times worse than driving while not distracted (Distraction.Gov), It was also found that 25% of teens respond to a text message at least once every time they drive, usually more and 20% of teen drivers admitted to having extended multi-text message conversations with different people while driving (UMTRI). I have seen first hand the impact distracted driving can have on not just a family, but for an entire community.