4/1 – Police Cracking Down on Distracted Drivers
By John Burton
TRENTON – Local police departments and other law enforcement agencies will be participating in a statewide initiative this month, cracking down on texting on cell phones.
The state Division of Highway Traffic Safety announced THAT more than 60 departments will receive a $5,000 grant and other agencies are expected to participate unfunded in the program “U Drive, U Text, U Pay,” scheduled to run until April 21. The crackdown is similar in scope to the “Driver Sober or Get Pulled Over” and Click It or Ticket” mobilization efforts targeting impaired driving and seat belt usage, according to the division.
The campaign is part of a nationwide effort, developed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, intended to coincide with April’s national Distracted Driving Awareness Month, an $8.5 million national advertising campaign to discourage inappropriate phone use while driving.
It is illegal in New Jersey to use handheld electronic devices while operating a vehicle. A conviction for violating the law comes with a $100 fine and court costs.
As of July 1, the penalties will rise from $200 to $400 for a first offense and could increase to $800 for additional violations under a new law signed by Gov. Chris Christie last June.