AAA: Distracted driving a major contributor to traffic fatalities in 2018

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AAA says that distracted driving is a major concern, as the New Jersey State Police released the 2018 roadway fatality report.

The report states that 563 people died on New Jersey roadways in 2018. Distracted driving was one of the leading contributors.

"Texting, taking a phone call, whether hands-free or a handheld, it’s the conversation that is taking your mind off the roadway,” says Tracy Noble with AAA Mid-Atlantic.

Noble adds, "AAA research has proved that cognitive distraction plays a major part when you're driving because if you're having a conversation your attention is not fully on the road. You are either talking or thinking about how to respond to someone who is talking to you."

Last April, AAA began a campaign that equates the danger of distracted driving to that of driving drunk.

"You're choosing to be distracted. Just like you're choosing to be intoxicated while you're behind the wheel,” Noble says.

State police did say that traffic fatalities overall were down. The full numbers for 2019 will be available later this week. AAA in the meantime is trying to release the number of drivers who were distracted.

"The temptation and the fact that people think that they are invincible and ‘It's always going to happen to somebody else,’ is still very prevalent on our roadways,” says Noble.

New Year’s Day consistently ranks among the year’s deadliest days for alcohol-related traffic fatalities, according to AAA.

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