How distracted are NJ’s drivers? See where we rank
Distracted driving is a more lethal problem in New Jersey than in most other states, according to a nationwide analysis by the online driver's education company Zutobi.
Using just-released 2021 data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Zutobi determined that the Garden State is among the states with the most distracted driving — No. 7.
The statistics take into account accidents related to distracted driving that resulted in at least one fatality. These rankings don't touch on non-fatal accidents caused by distracted driving, or overall driver behavior.
Close to 20% of New Jersey's fatal crashes in 2021 involved distracted driving, the study finds. "Distraction" can be anything that takes one's eyes off the road, including conversations with other people in the vehicle.
Across the fatal crashes involving distracted driving, 136 lives were lost, the study says. There were 2.1 distracted driving deaths per 100,000 licensed drivers.
Virginia is the only other state in the New Jersey area to make the "top 10" for distracted driving.
Over a five-year period, driver inattention played a role in nearly half of all crashes recorded in New Jersey, according to the Division of Highway Traffic Safety.
According to Zutobi, New Mexico has the most distracted driving, and Alaska and Vermont have the least.
Dino Flammia is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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