Most states have their own distracted driving laws, banning, to some extent, certain activities that may put drivers, passengers, and others in danger. Unfortunately for many residents of these states, drivers continue to allow distraction to take over, regardless of the serious consequences.
In order to handle the distracted driving risk in a more aggressive fashion, lawmakers in states like New Jersey are pushing a bill that, if signed into law, would basically outlaw any kind of distraction, such as drinking coffee or eating a sandwich while behind the wheel.
While the bill’s wording does not specify these as distractions, the broad language of the piece of legislation may allow drivers to end up being pulled over for sipping on their travel coffee cups.
According to the local authorities, distracted driving is responsible for thousands of deadly crashes in the state. Nationwide, the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration claims that, each year, 800,000 crashes reported nationwide are related to distracted driving. In 2014 alone, 3,179 fatal crashes were attributed to the activity.
But unfortunately for drivers, it’s often difficult to identify what type of distraction is directly linked to these fatal accidents. Too often, accidents occur but officers are unable to list the type of distraction mainly because there are protocols in place that do not allow them to obtain this information at the scene. In many cases, they depend on the driver’s word to know whether they are indeed distracted at the time of a crash.
To many safety advocates, the New Jersey bill, which could be signed into law if the state legislature OKs the text, could help drivers to think twice before allowing distraction to take over. But to many critics, the new bill could be too harsh, allowing officers to pull over a driver over anything that could be considered a distraction.
Whether the bill passes or not, it’s important that drivers understand that distracted driving can expose drivers to a series of serious and even deadly accident risks.
Unless drivers are ready to sacrifice their access to their phones and other types of distraction, they are not serious about staying safe while behind the wheel.
For more on this story and the bill that could make distracted drivers regret their actions, follow this link.