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Avoid distracted driving during your summer road trip

For most New Jersey children, the new school year starts in a matter of weeks, so families who are hoping to squeeze in one last summer adventure had better do it soon. And as the cost of airplane tickets remains high, many families will turn to a great American tradition: the road trip.

Before you set out on your adventure, there are several things to keep in mind in order to ensure that you make it to your destination car accident-free. One important consideration is distracted driving. Currently, 30 states have enacted laws on cell phone use behind the wheel. However, these laws vary greatly from state to state. So it is important to have the information - or at least know where to get it - before heading out on the road.

According to Nancy White of the American Automobile Association, the fact that distracted driving laws are not posted like speed limits in each state does not mean that they will not be enforced. "Drivers are still responsible for knowing the cell phone laws that apply in each state," she said. This is why AAA has posted a list on its website of all distracted driving laws for each applicable jurisdiction, and why it recommends drivers to consult this list before crossing state lines.

If you are planning a road trip along the Eastern Seaboard, the differing laws are somewhat easy to grasp. Using a handheld cell phone in any form, including sending text messages and making phone calls, is prohibited in Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, several cities in Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C. Texting is currently illegal in Maryland, and a state ban on any cell phone use will go into effect in October. In addition, Delaware and Massachusetts will soon prohibit cell phone use behind the wheel.

Staying up to date on the relevant distracted driving laws will not only keep your family safe on the road, but it may also protect against the hassle and delay of a traffic ticket.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident caused by distracted driving, please contact Breslin & Breslin for a free consultation.

Source: MSNBC, "Distracted driving and the summer road trip," Harriet Baskas, 15 July 2011

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