More than 19,000 people died in road-traffic accidents nationwide in the first six months of this year; that represents a nine percent spike in traffic fatalities.
Robert Molloy of the National Transportation Safety Board gave that stark statistic in Trenton last week to the Assembly Transportation Committee, which is considering a bill to prohibit distracted driving. “When your head’s down for two seconds, that’s kind of the magic point at which you’ve now lost track of what’s happening in front of you,” he said.
The culprit? Cell phones, according to Molloy. “Reading a text message or talking on a wireless phone can have catastrophic consequences. The NTSB believes a significant number of lives can be saved and injuries avoided if New Jersey expands and strengthens its already strong laws,” he said.
Molloy advised banning all non-emergency use of portable electronic devices, noting that drivers should pull over to use any app that demands more than two seconds of concentration.
Concerns were raised about how much government can control how people drive. One assembly member mentioned a study that showed nearly 30 percent of drivers admitted last year they go online while on the road. The committee has yet to vote on any distracted driving bills.
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