A recent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety report found that drivers in New Jersey are talking on their cellphones less but using them more in other ways. While behind the wheel, people were 57% likelier to use their phones to send emails, text or perform other actions than they were to make phone calls. The study compared two observation-based surveys that were conducted in 2014 and 2018.

According to a co-author of the research, drivers were using their phones in ways that are riskier in the more recent study. The report did not find that distracted driving increased overall but indicated that drivers are operating their phones more and talking on them less.

The IIHS estimated that the number of crash deaths nationwide could have been reduced by more than 800 if drivers were not using their phones for texting or other non-talking activities. Drivers take their attention away from the road in order to dial their phones, use apps, browse the web or send text messages.

When drivers talk on the phone, they tend to look toward the center of the roadway, but their attention is at least partially removed from the task of driving. Other behaviors can also lead to distracted driving accidents, including things like drinking coffee or talking to passengers in the vehicle.

Distracted driving majorly contributes to car accidents all over the country. When a person is injured in a car accident due to a distracted driver, he or she may be able to recover compensation for pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost wages or other damages. An experienced personal injury lawyer might draft and file a complaint in civil court or negotiate a settlement with the at-fault parties and their insurers.