Modern technology is wonderful for communication. Thanks to email, cellphones and social media, you can easily stay in touch with your friends and family. However, not everyone always uses technology safely.

One time you should never a cellphone is when you are driving. Experts often cite mobile phone usage as a contributing factor in fatal car crashes. They warn against any behavior that could pose a distraction while you are behind the wheel. Despite these warnings, a recent study found that—for the eighth year in a row—distracted driving was the leading cause of fatal car accidents in New Jersey.

What the study found

State police examined data from fatal car crashes in 2018, which is the most recent year full statistics were available. Distracted driving led to 146 crashes. This number is higher than the incidents for fatal crashes caused by intoxicated driving and speeding, which were 143 and 53 respectively.

The good news is that rates in several categories dropped from 2017 to 2018. In 2017, distracted driving caused 196 fatal crashes, meaning the number went down by 50. Intoxicated driving was blamed for 143 collisions while speeding caused 61. Even the number of fatal pedestrian accidents dropped from 181 to 166. However, researchers stress that these numbers are still too high.

How to save lives

Distracted driving crashes are easy to prevent. All drivers have to do is pay attention to driving, and only driving. Using a hands-free device to operate a cellphone is helpful, but experts warn that anything that takes a driver’s attention away from operating a vehicle can be risky. The other top causes of fatal crashes are also preventable. Drivers just have to avoid alcohol before driving and obey posted speed limits.

One category that saw a rise is hit-and-run crashes. Only 25 happened in 2017, but that number went up to 39 in 2018. Furthermore, the study found that 30 of those crashes involved pedestrian victims. These types of collisions are also easy to stop by utilizing all of the same tactics—minimizing distractions, refraining from drinking alcohol and not speeding.

Getting help for you or someone you love

If you lost a loved one as the result of a motor vehicle accident due to the actions of a distracted driver, you deserve to hold that individual party accountable. Civil litigation in the form of a wrongful death claim may be an effective option for seeking justice, and it could increase your odds of receiving much-needed compensation to help ease your pain and suffering while also covering many of the associated end-of-life expenses.