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Statewide distracted driving campaign begins Sunday

NEW JERSEY – The statewide distracted driving campaign “U Drive. U Text. U Pay.” kicks off Sunday.

The annual campaign, which runs through April 21, aims to crack down on drivers who engage in dangerous distracted driving behaviors such as talking on hand-held cell phones and sending text messages while driving.

“Distracted driving is possibly the most serious safety issue on our roadways today,” said Gary Poedubicky, Acting Director of the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety. “The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that in 2015 alone, 3,477 people were killed in distracted driving crashes and an estimated 391,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver.”

The U Drive. U Text. U Pay. 2017 Distracted Driving Statewide Crackdown resulted in 15,292 summonses for cell phone use/texting and 7,003 for careless driving. In addition, participating police agencies issued 8,284 and 7,343 speeding and seat belt summonses, respectively. The crackdown focused on distracted driving, but as with all statewide traffic safety initiatives, motorists were reminded of the life-saving benefits of proper restraint usage and obeying posted speed limits. It is estimated that more than 21,000 enforcement man-hours were worked during the campaign, which included 109 fixed distracted driving checkpoints.

In New Jersey, driver inattention was listed as a contributing circumstance in 52 percent of the state’s crashes in 2015. Driver inattention was in fact listed as a contributing factor in crashes at a rate nine times higher than that of the next highest contributing factor (speed).

The penalty in New Jersey for distracted driving violations is a $200-$400 fine for a first offense, a $400-$600 fine for a second offense and a $600-$800 fine, three motor vehicle points and a possible driver’s license suspension of up to 90 days for a third offense.

The statewide initiative comes in April as a part of National Distracted Driving Month.

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By: Jay Edwards Follow on Twitter | Like on Facebook