New Jersey Police Targeting Distracted Drivers with New Campaign
Beginning April 1, New Jersey police officers are targeting distracted divers through their “U Drive, U Text, U Pay” campaign. This campaign will run for three weeks, ending April 21, and is a nationwide campaign to help stop one of the most dangerous and deadly bad driving habits. The Division of Highway Safety (NHTSA) has awarded funding to over 30 police departments across the country for participating in the program and more organizations are joining the movement without any backing.
The “U Drive, U Text, U Pay” campaign is very similar to other initiatives that have been put forth in the past, including the “Drive Sober, or Get Pulled Over” campaign that targeted driving under the influence and the “Click It or Ticket” operation which targeted increased driver safety by enforcing seatbelt laws. This new distracted driving campaign is a nation-wide movement developed by NHTSA which will perfectly align with nationally-observed Distracted Driving Awareness Month activities.
During these three weeks, enforcement officers will be aggressive enforcing the laws that govern cell phone use while driving. When this behavior is observed, the driver will be pulled over and fined. In the state of New Jersey, using a handheld device in any manner is considered illegal and carries a fine of between $200 and $400 for a first offense. Any additional offenses of this kind will carry an increased fine of $800 as well as three insurance points added to the driver’s license.
Attorney General John Hoffman spoke to the dangers of distracted driving in a recent article posted on NewJerseyNewsRoom.com. Hoffman states that, “the dangers of driver inattention are staggering, placing drivers, passengers, and pedestrians alike in harm’s way.” It is no secret that distracted driving is significant and growing issue on our roads today and has a tremendous impact on the lives of those involved in a distracted driving crash. With this information in mind, it is easy to see why “U Drive, U Text, U Pay” is such an important safety initiative.
Recent studies have found that distracted driving, specifically texting and driving, is a huge problem among drivers, especially teenagers and young adults. Research that was released earlier this year also shows that in nearly 60 percent of moderate to severe teen crashes distracted driving was the main contributing factor – this is four times the percentage given in official estimates on police reports. Based on this evidence, distracted driving is a more wide-spread issue than many officials realize.
The national enforcement blitz will be backed by a multi-million dollar advertising campaign that is meant to raise awareness about the enforcement effort being embraced by police officers nationwide and working to remind drivers about the real danger that texting and driving poses. “Driving and texting is illegal and irresponsible. People who break our distracted driving laws will be stopped and fined,” said Gary Poedubicky, Division of Highway Traffic Safety Acting Director. “For those who say that driving and texting is an epidemic, we believe enforcement of our state texting law is part of the cure.”