Study: Distracted drivers are a threat to first responders

Another distracted driving study, this time conducted by the National Safety Council in association with the Emergency Responder Safety Institute, has revealed that drivers in New Jersey and around the country are quick to criticize others for behavior they regularly engage in themselves. While 89 percent of the motorists surveyed said distracted drivers pose a major threat to the safety of first responders, a worrying 71 percent of them admitted to researchers that they slow down to take photographs or shoot videos of traffic stops and accident scenes.

When asked what they did with the images or videos, 60 percent of the respondents said that they post them on social media and 66 percent told researchers that they attach them to emails. Most worrying of all, the drivers surveyed admitted that they do not even pull over to the side of the road before to doing this. It may not be surprising, then, that 16 percent of the respondents admitted that they had struck or come close to striking a paramedic, firefighter, or police officer.

This kind of behavior is taking a grim toll. During the first three months of 2019, 16 first responders lost their lives after being struck by motor vehicles while working. When asked about this danger, 40 percent of the motorists surveyed dismissed it as being just part of a dangerous job.

Criminal prosecutions for distracted driving are rare because establishing proof beyond a reasonable doubt is usually very difficult, but civil lawsuits are decided based on the preponderance of the evidence. This means that experienced personal injury attorneys seeking compensation for motor vehicle accident victims must only convince the jury that their account of the events in question is most likely true. This could be done in distracted driving cases with cellphone records or internet activity logs.