Home NS Sentinel N/S Sentinel News Crash highlights distracted driving dangers, coinciding with statewide enforcement campaign

Crash highlights distracted driving dangers, coinciding with statewide enforcement campaign

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A driver reportedly using cruise control was distracted while driving up Route 1 on March 29, and veered into a tractor trailer stalled on the side of the road.PHOTO COURTESY OF THE SOUTH BRUNSWICK POLICE DEPARTMENT
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A driver reportedly using cruise control was distracted while driving up Route 1 on March 29, and veered into a tractor trailer stalled on the side of the road.PHOTO COURTESY OF THE SOUTH BRUNSWICK POLICE DEPARTMENT
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A driver reportedly using cruise control was distracted while driving up Route 1 on March 29, and veered into a tractor trailer stalled on the side of the road.PHOTO COURTESY OF THE SOUTH BRUNSWICK POLICE DEPARTMENT
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A driver reportedly using cruise control was distracted while driving up Route 1 on March 29, and veered into a tractor trailer stalled on the side of the road.PHOTO COURTESY OF THE SOUTH BRUNSWICK POLICE DEPARTMENT

A reported distracted driver drove his Tesla under a tractor trailer on March 29 on Route 1 in South Brunswick. The impact was so sever it shredded the roof off the passenger’s side of the vehicle.

“This crash could easily have been fatal, and easily have been prevented if the driver was paying attention,” South Brunswick Police Chief Raymond Hayducka said in a prepared statement.

The crash was reported at 8:21 a.m. at Route 1 and Executive Drive. Officer Brian Kim determined that the 44-year-old driver from Baltimore was distracted at the time of the crash, according to reports.

According to Kim’s investigation, the 2020 Tesla was headed northbound on Route 1 in the right lane. The Tesla reportedly was set to cruise control and drifted onto the shoulder of the roadway where it struck a 2005 Freightliner tractor trailer, according to the statement. The tractor truck was broken down on the shoulder of the road at the time of the crash.

The driver of the Tesla received minor injuries but refused medical treatment, according to reports. The Tesla was destroyed in the crash.

Beginning April 1 and running through the end of the month, the high visibility law enforcement initiative UDrive. UText. UPay. will target motorists who engage in dangerous distracted driving behaviors such as talking on hand-held cell phones and sending text messages while driving, according to the statement.

Distracted driving is any activity that diverts attention from driving, including talking or texting on the phone, eating and drinking, talking to people in the vehicle, fiddling with the stereo, entertainment or navigation system — anything that takes attention away from the task of safe driving, according to the statement.

Texting is the most alarming distraction. Sending or reading a text takes eyes off the road for five seconds. At 55 mph, that’s like driving the length of an entire football field with the eyes closed, according to the statement.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that in 2018 alone, 2,841 people were killed in distracted driving crashes on the nation’s roads and an estimated 400,000 people were injured, according to the statement.

In New Jersey, driver inattention was listed as a contributing circumstance in 50% of the state’s crashes in 2018. Driver inattention was in fact listed as a contributing factor in crashes at a rate seven times higher than that of the next highest contributing factor (speed), according to the statement.

“Today we were lucky we didn’t have a fatal crash, but starting April 1 a new crackdown will focus on this danger. Drivers have a responsibility to pay attention as they drive. Last year five motorists lost their lives on roadways in the township. This crackdown hopes to raise awareness of the danger of distracted driving,” Hayducka said in the statement.

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