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New Jersey Develops New Initiative for Reporting Distracted Driving

If You See a Distracted Driver in New Jersey, Dial #77 to Report the Incident 

What should you do if you are on the New Jersey Turnpike or street in your neighborhood and you see a distracted driver? According to a recent article in Philly.com, the Division of Highway Traffic Safety has developed a new initiative designed to stop distracted driving. What does it involve? It encourages any driver or passenger who witnesses distracted driving to report it to authorities. The state of New Jersey is “taking a new step to combat distracted driving,” and it requires other vehicle occupants to inform on other drivers. For most New Jersey residents, this new initiative is seen as an important preventive measure given the rate of distracted driving accidents and fatalities throughout the state and entire country.

How can you report distracted driving in New Jersey? You can simply dial #77 from your phone to be connected with the appropriate authorities. Dialing the number serves as a connection to a hotline to help prevent car accidents. Previously, #77 was used to report instances of aggressive driving in New Jersey. Now that number will be used to gather information about both aggressive driving and distracted driving in the state. According to the article, this initiative is “the first of its kind nationally.”

You might be asking yourself: Could I risk becoming a distracted driver by dialing #77? The article emphasizes the fact that drivers should not risk causing accidents themselves in order to report on other drivers. Instead, “drivers are encouraged to pull over, use a hands-free headset, or have a passenger make the call.” Even if a New Jersey state police officer cannot reach the allegedly distracted driver in time, if the caller provides the license plate number, then “a letter detailing the incident will be sent to the vehicle owner’s home,” which officials believe may deter that person from engaging in distracted driving in the future.

Get the Facts About Distracted Driving 

Why is New Jersey taking action against distracted driving before other states? In 2016, there was an 8% increase in deadly car accidents in the state, and authorities have linked many of those crashes to distracted driving. Of course, distracted driving has resulted in a rise in traffic collisions in other states as well and New Jersey’s initiative could become an important model for other parts of the country that want to put an end to distracted driving.

According to a fact sheet from the Insurance Information Institute (III), the following facts and figures show how dangerous distracted driving is in the U.S.:

  • In 2015, there were 32,166 fatal crashes with 3,196 involving distracted drivers;
  • 35,092 fatalities occurred in 2015, with 3,477 as a result of distracted driving;
  • Around 391,000 people suffered injuries in car accidents linked to distracted driving in 2015;
  • Distracted driving accounts for about 10% of all car accident fatalities each year (although that number only includes known incidents of distracted driving);
  • Distracted driving accounts for around 15% of all injury crashes each year; and
  • Cell phone use is tied to at least 14% of all fatal distracted driving accidents.

Hopefully, this new initiative will help decrease the number of distracted drivers on NJ’s roads. In the event that you or someone you love was injured in a traffic collision caused by a distracted driver, contact an experienced car accident attorney to determine your rights.

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