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Unsafe driving in New Jersey school zones

Bad driving is a threat to drivers, pedestrians and cyclists on roads all over the nation. Motor vehicle accidents claim tens of thousands of lives a year. Recently, there has been an uptick in fatal accidents per mile driven. Driving safety appears to be on the decline.

A recent study used phone and driver data to assign grades to drivers in each of the states in terms of driving safety in school zones. New Jersey finished a disappointing 34th in the country. New Jersey drivers were given a C- for their actions in operating a motor vehicle near schools.

Distracted driving

If you've ever been responsible for dropping off or picking up a child at school, you understand how crowded and hectic things can get. School zones are no place to be driving while checking your email or sending a text. Children can behave in unpredictable ways and can't be relied on to act as responsible pedestrians. School zones require the full and careful attention of the drivers operating in and around them.

Cell phones are, naturally, the primary culprit in distracted driving behaviors. Recent studies show that as many as 88 percent of Americans are splitting their attention between driving and their cell phones. This is never a safe practice, but carries particularly high risk where children are likely to be walking or riding their bikes.

Room for improvement

California drivers proved to be the worst in terms of safe driving in school zones, earning an F grade shared only by Florida. An additional 12 states earned a D for their driving practices. While not among the worst, New Jersey drivers have ample room for improvement. The goal should be to join the 12 states with an A grade, including Massachusetts and Virginia. To do that, New Jersey drivers will need to put down our cell phones and focus on safe driving.

Source: Zendrive, "Zendrive School Safety Snapshot: Back to School 2017," November 2017

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