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Study Indicates Jersey Drivers Take Risks, Break Laws

If you’ve spent any time on New Jersey freeways, the fact that our drivers speed should be no surprise. But a study from Fairleigh Dickinson University published last month indicates speeding isn’t the only risk-taking behavior among our drivers, though it might be the most common. Many other behaviors, including texting while driving, are common and could lead to potentially tragic accidents.

According to the poll, 32 percent of New Jersey drivers say they drive 70 mph on the highway “most of the time,” or “often,” an increase from 25 percent in 2011. Most likely to speed are those with a commute longer than 20 miles and those under the age of 30.

It’s not that our drivers don’t believe they will get caught, as 80 percent believe they are “very likely” or “somewhat likely” to be ticketed.

There is some good news, though. Texting while driving has decreased in the past year — from 25 percent in 2011 to 19 percent this year. Younger drivers, however, are still far more likely to text and drive (48 percent). Dan Cassino, professor of political science and principal investigator of the survey, calls the figure “terrifying.”

Their understanding regarding the legality of texting while driving might be part of the problem. Fifteen percent of drivers under 30 think that it’s legal, compared to just two percent of drivers overall. Most drivers (85 percent) know that texting while driving is illegal but they’re split on whether the current penalties are enough to stop the practice. Fifty-two percent say that the current fine of $100 is enough to dissuade them but 43 percent say that it isn’t enough to stop them personally from texting. “Even though they know it’s illegal, fewer than half think they will get pulled over for texting,” said Cassino. “Thirty-four percent of all respondents tell us that they frequently see other people texting behind the wheel, and see no reason why they should be the one to get ticketed for it.”

Other notable points from the survey:

  • 91 percent report wearing a seat belt while driving
  • Fewer people use cellphones while driving: 9 percent now, down from 26 percent five years ago.
  • Young drivers are most likely to talk on the phone while driving
  • 95 percent know it’s illegal to talk on a hand-held phone while driving.

Despite all of these admitted mistakes, 72 percent of New Jersey drivers rate themselves as being “above average” drivers. Fifty-two percent say the worse drivers are from New York.

About Davis, Saperstein, & Salomon, P.C.

Whether you are on the roads of New Jersey or New York, you have to be cautious about other drivers. Even if you follow all of the rules of the road and are a safe commuter, your safety is in the hands of everyone else on the road.

The attorneys with Davis, Saperstein & Salomon, P.C., know that there are both good and bad drivers everywhere, and frequently the good drivers become victims of the other guys. In cases like this, we are there to represent people who are hurt through no fault of their own. If you’ve been involved in a serious accident in New York or New Jersey, contact the New Jersey car accident attorneys of Davis, Saperstein, & Salomon, P.C. We can be reached at 1-800-LAW-2000.