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New Jersey drivers should know that every day in this country, 9 people die and 100 are injured in distracted driving crashes. These crashes often involve the use of phones and in-vehicle tech, such as dashboard touchscreens. It makes sense, then, that the National Safety Council has designated April to be Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Some new research on this concerning trend has come in time for April 2019.

The Risk Institute at The Ohio State University has conducted several studies, one of which was about the encouragement of good driver behavior with incentives like insurance discounts. Researchers found that drivers who are confident tend to engage in more distracting or unsafe behaviors behind the wheel.

Researchers also found, after looking at Ohio’s records of 1.4 million crashes between 2013 and 2017, that urban areas see more crashes due to distracted driving than rural areas. The longer the road and the more lanes it has, the higher the risk of a crash. Crash rates were lower on roads with medians or with paved shoulders, and crash severity went down with roundabouts.

The institute is also coordinating nationwide efforts with government entities, companies and researchers to reduce distracted driving. These efforts bring together cutting-edge research in areas like behavioral science, engineering and automotive research.

Drivers should know that they are responsible for keeping their vehicle under control at all times. Any distractions, even conversations with a passenger, can take away from their focus on the road. If a distracted driver causes an auto accident, victims may file a claim against that driver’s auto insurance company. The insurer will likely be aggressive in denying payment or getting victims to agree to a settlement that is less than they deserve, so it may be wise to hire a lawyer. The lawyer might have investigators gather proof before negotiating.