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Distracted driving, and what's being done to prevent it

Drivers in New Jersey may be aware that this state was the first to institute a law against drunk driving. Many believe that drunk drivers are the top threat on the roads today, but drunk driving deaths have actually decreased by one third over the past three decades. With the advent of smartphones and other accessible technology, distracted driving has become a greater threat. In a survey, 75 percent of motorists said that every day, they see at least one driver using his or her phone.

Texting, talking on the phone, talking with other passengers, and using in-car navigation systems account for most instances of distracted driving. Unfortunately, accident reports in many states do not factor in distracted driving as well as they should, so documenting the number of accidents that arise from it can be difficult.

Many drivers feel they are not motivated to change their distracting habits. The laws against distracted driving are light compared to those against DUI, for instance, and some states don't even have a law against texting and driving.

Some auto insurers are using smartphone telematics to combat distracted driving. Telematics programs monitor driver behavior and measure acceleration patterns, speed, vehicle mileage, and other factors. The "It Can Wait" movement and other movements are just beginning to have an impact on reducing distracted driving.

Human negligence can, of course, prevail in spite of movements, laws, and preventative technology. When texting and driving is the cause behind a car accident, the victim can speak with a lawyer about filing a claim. If successful, the claim could cover losses like medical expenses and vehicle repair costs. The lawyer could hire investigators and accident reconstruction experts to build up the case. The lawyer can then present proof of the plaintiff's negligence before the auto insurance company and negotiate for a settlement.

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