Distracted driving is a serious issue across the United States, but research shows that it is especially problematic in New Jersey. New Jersey is currently among the worst states in the nation for fatal car crashes involving distracted driving, with cellphone use and other distracted driving behaviors contributing to many of the state’s car wrecks and associated injuries and fatalities.
According to New Jersey 101.5, New Jersey now ranks second in the nation in terms of the number of fatal crashes it sees that involve driver distraction.
Distracted driving statistics
Research shows that driver distraction has a hand in nearly a quarter, or 24.6%, of New Jersey’s fatal car crashes. The only state with a higher percentage is New Mexico, with 37.2% of the state’s fatal crashes involving distracted driving. While driver distraction takes on many forms, many crashes involving it are the result of texting or in-vehicle cellphone use. In 2019, driver cellphone use contributed to 13% of the year’s fatal car wrecks.
Distracted driving behaviors
Cellphones are not the only source of in-vehicle distraction. Often, crashes result from a driver using in-vehicle navigation systems or having his or her attention focused on eating, drinking or personal grooming. Other times, children or other passengers distract a driver. Teen motorists are especially susceptible to having teenage passengers distract them. The presence of a teen passenger raises fatal crash risks for motorists within this age group.
The percentage of fatal crashes involving driver distraction varies quite a bit from state to state. Different reporting guidelines and the fact that each state has different strategies for preventing such crashes may contribute to the disparity.