Roadway distractions have surged since mobile devices have risen in popularity. Because looking at a device takes a motorist’s attention away from the road, New Jersey prohibits holding a cell phone and sending or reading text messages while driving.
Pedestrians, however, can use a mobile phone while walking. They may speak on the phone or use it to take photos and videos for uploading to the internet. As reported by CBS News, New Jersey has become the worst state in the nation for fatal accidents involving pedestrians.
Year-over-year increase in fatalities
In 2018, the number of year-over-year pedestrian fatalities increased by 35% while fatal motor vehicle accidents decreased. Pedestrians who crossed the street outside of marked crosswalks accounted for the highest deaths. Distractions from mobile devices contribute because individuals fail to pay attention to the road. An oncoming vehicle may not react quickly enough to avoid striking an individual in the street.
Burlington County pedestrian accidents
Several Garden State residents have attempted to cross a highway with multiple lanes of traffic, including toll roads. As reported by the Burlington County Times, the deadliest accidents occur when pedestrians try to cross NJ Routes 38 and 73 and U.S. Route 130.
When individuals walking on the street look down at their cellphones, a motorist still owes a duty of care to prevent an accident. When a driver strikes a pedestrian, even if the victim was paying attention to a mobile device, a breach of duty has occurred.
An injured pedestrian may file a legal action against the motorist for medical expenses and lost wages. If the driver caused a fatal accident, a grieving family may file suit to recover relief for the loss of their loved one as well as for their pain and suffering.