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All ages engage in behaviors that lead to motor vehicle accidents

Many people in New Jersey assume that new drivers are the most dangerous on the road. Because of their inexperience, some assume, they may be unable to respond to a dangerous situation and may be more likely to engage in risky behavior that could lead to motor vehicle accidents. However, a recent study documented some surprising revelations about driver behavior.

The study was conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and involved 2,511 licensed drivers from the age of 16 and older. As part of the study, drivers were asked about certain potentially dangerous behaviors while driving, including texting, running a red light or speeding, over the course of the previous 30 days. Over half of respondents in each age group admitted to engaging in the behaviors.

A large majority -- 88 percent -- of drivers aged 19 to 24 admitted to such behavior. However, even older drivers who are typically deemed safer admitted to texting, emailing or running a red light. Perhaps surprisingly to some, the youngest drivers, ages 16 to 18, were less likely to engage in these activities in comparison to older drivers through the age of 50.

Unfortunately, the survey further supported what researchers already suspect -- that driver behaviors are putting lives at risk due to motor vehicle accidents. Data from 2015 showed a 7 percent increase in the number of traffic fatalities, and while official numbers are not currently available, it is suspected that the trend continued in 2016. However, these fatalities are not simply numbers -- they are family members whose loss is mourned and often leaves surviving loved ones struggling with the emotional and financial ramifications of their death. Fortunately, there are options for those in New Jersey who lost a loved one due to another's negligence. A successfully presented wrongful death lawsuit could result in an award of damages that can help these victims cope with funeral costs, lost wages and other financial complications in addition to ensuring that a negligent driver is held accountable for his or her actions.

Source: apnews.com, "Study: Most drivers, not just young, are taking risks", Dee-Ann Durbin, Feb. 15, 2017

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