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Root Insurance studies distracted driving trends

Smartphones and other mobile devices are a major source of distraction for drivers in New Jersey as elsewhere in the U.S. Root Insurance, an insurer that provides incentives to drivers who avoid phone use, has recently made known the results of its second annual distracted driving study, and they show that distractions are becoming a nationwide road safety issue.

Though 47% of drivers said distractions are a top concern for them, and though 99% recognized phones as a danger to drivers, the study found that these respondents use their phones an average of 13 minutes a day, or 91 minutes a week, behind the wheel. About 38% even said they do not put down their mobile devices when they spot police. Phone use is not the only unsafe activity, though.

The study found that 29% of drivers will sometimes steer not with the hands but with another body part like the knees or chin. Another 18% admitted to grooming while driving while 13% have played with a pet and 12% have changed their clothes while on the road.

According to the study, 89% of drivers, though they themselves exhibited distracting behavior, said they would give a bad rating to Uber or Lyft drivers who texted behind the wheel. Of those, 39% admitted that they have done so before.

Drivers will be to blame for any accidents they cause out of inattention, and those who are injured at the hands of such drivers may be eligible for compensation under personal injury law. In this state, even those who are deemed 50% at fault in a two-car crash may file a claim. It may be hard, though, to negotiate for a settlement or take the case to court on one's own. Victims might want a lawyer to evaluate their case.

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