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Travelers notes rise in distracted driving in summer

New Jersey residents who are planning to take a road trip this summer should be aware of one particular danger: distracted driving. Back in June, the Travelers Institute hosted its Every Second Matters™ symposium on Capitol Hill as a way to raise awareness of distracted driving, pointing to recent research to show how it increases during the summer.

That research was conducted by TrueMotion, a smartphone telematics platform. Using sensor data from its TrueMotion Family mobile app, it was able to analyze 8.4 million trips taken by over 20,000 drivers from January 2017 to May 2018. Researchers found that drivers looked less at the road during the months of June, July and August. On average, summertime drivers were distracted for 15 minutes out of every hour behind the wheel.

The same three-month period, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, sees a 29 percent increase in road deaths when compared to the months of December, January and February. This is probably due to the fact that more people are on the road for vacations and holiday celebrations. In summer, there are 20 percent more miles driven, NHTSA says. Distracted driving is not yet in the public's consciousness the same way that drunk driving and driving without a seat belt are. This is just one issue that Travelers hopes to correct.

There are hardly any excuses, after all, to be distracted on the road. Drivers who choose to be negligent like this can be held responsible for any crashes they cause. Victims can file a third-party insurance claim and, if successful, be covered for medical expenses, vehicle damage and lost wages. The process can go a lot smoother with a lawyer, however. This is especially true since auto insurance companies can be aggressive in denying settlements.

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