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Dangers of distracted driving highlighted by popular game

New Jersey residents may be shocked to learn just how widespread the problem of distracted driving is. While this issue is often associated with younger drivers, a study of motorists of all ages conducted by the National Safety Council found that 74 percent of those polled admitted to using Facebook while behind the wheel. Even more alarming was that more than a third of the drivers surveyed by the nonprofit safety organization said they had watched videos on YouTube while driving.

However, teens remain the focus of a great deal of distracted driving research. Researchers with Liberty Mutual and Students Against Destructive Decisions discovered that almost 70 percent of the 2,500 high school students they surveyed admitted to accessing apps on their cellphones while driving. Other studies have found that teens are particularly prone to this kind of behavior because they often feel under a great deal of pressure to reply to text messages promptly.

These studies reveal that drivers using smartphone applications could be as big a threat to other road users as those making phone calls or sending text messages, and the popularity of Nintendo's augmented reality game Pokemon Go has fueled these concerns. The game layers electronic data over maps of actual locations, and it has been connected with at least two distracted driving accidents in the United States. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration say that about 8 people are killed on the nation's roads each day by distracted drivers.

The injuries suffered in distracted driving accidents are often severe, and motorists who behave in this negligent fashion may face both criminal and civil sanctions. A personal injury attorney may file a lawsuit on behalf of an accident victim who seeks compensation for lost income as well as medical bills and other damages.

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