In New Jersey and across the U.S., distracted driving is leading to more and more auto accidents. The risk for a distracted driving crash becomes especially great in highway work zones. A study conducted by University of Missouri researchers found that drivers who are inattentive for any length of time raise their risk for a highway work zone crash or near-crash by 29 times.

Drivers can become inattentive through phone use, eating and drinking, conversations with passengers and even something as simple as daydreaming or looking at a billboard. Combine this with highway work zones, where the lanes are fewer and drivers might be unwilling to reduce their speed, and the researchers’ conclusion does not sound so far-fetched.

The results of the study were published in the Journal of the Transportation Research Board. While previous studies on highway work zone crashes could only rely on the limited data in police reports, this study actually had access to naturalistic driving study data. That data covered over 3,000 drivers and their interactions with the road and their vehicle prior to their initiation of a crash.

It is hoped that the study will provide help state transportation agencies come up with measures to influence driver behavior for the better. Automakers striving to build self-driving cars may also benefit from the results.

Those who are involved in motor vehicle collisions and suffer serious injuries should know that, though New Jersey is a no-fault state, they may be able to file a personal injury claim. To learn just how they might qualify, they may consult a lawyer. If their case holds up to scrutiny, the lawyer may go ahead and assist with every step of the process, including the negotiation of a settlement.