When you hear a driver was in an accident while “under the influence” your first thought is probably alcohol. But there is something else impairing drivers across Hackensack, New Jersey— their cell phones. More and more car accidents are being caused by drivers messing with digital devices instead of keeping their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road.
It’s a crime but nobody seems to care.
New Jersey has banned texting while driving in 2008, but criminalizing this common behavior has not reduced the number of accidents caused by distracted drivers.
Distracted driving has become a hot topic as smartphones have become more common, but distracted driving is a much older and bigger problem. Any activity that divides your attention while you are behind the wheel can be considered distracted driving. Talking to a passenger or using a hands free device to make a call, eating and drinking, putting on makeup, shaving, reading, programming a navigation system, watching a video, or adjusting the radio can all contribute to a distracted driving accident.
Distracted driving has consequences in court.
Getting into a car accident with a distracted driver is incredibly frustrating because the accident probably could have been prevented if the other driver had been paying attention to the road. It might make you feel a little bit better to know that the other driver’s actions will have consequences.
The other driver will be held more at fault for the accident if you can prove they were distracted at the time of the accident. This means they will be forced to pay for more of the damages and injuries caused by the accident under New Jersey’s comparative fault-based system.
After an automobile accident, the finder of fact — often a jury — will decide who is responsible for causing the wreck. The finder of fact will assign fault as a percentage, and any party involved in the accident that is less than 51% at fault can seek compensation for their injuries from the other parties.
Since texting and driving and other forms of distracted driving are crimes, proving the other driver was committing them pushes that driver toward a higher fault percentage, meaning you can recover more from them. It’s a small silver lining in a case where no accident should have occurred.
Levin & Malkin PC has a lot of experience in cases where one or more of the parties involved in an accident were distracted by their cell phones. We know how to pull the data to prove a distracted driving crime was being committed. We can help you hold a distracted driver accountable for their actions.
Posted in: Car Accidents