March 30, 2019
More than 200 police departments across New Jersey will begin a statewide crackdown April 1 on enforcing texting while driving rules.
The campaign, called “U Text. U Drive. U Pay.”, will run for three weeks, April 1 to April 21. The state is one of four to receive federal grants to target distracted driving, according to NJ.com, along with Maine, Connecticut, and Oregon.
Cell phone usage and texting while driving contributed to over 804,000 crashes in #NewJersey from 2011 to 2015; we are here to remind you that incoming messages or calls can wait until you’ve made it to your destination safely. #PutItDownJustDrive pic.twitter.com/gjX2fjrpZ3— New Jersey DHTS (@NJTrafficSafety) March 20, 2019
According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data, 3,450 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers in 2016. Of those crashes, cell phone use contributed to 486, or 14 percent, of the deaths.
Director of New Jersey’s Division of Highway Traffic Safety Eric Heitmann told the Courier Post that distracted driving, and especially texting while driving, is “one of the most critical traffic safety issues that we face today.”
The campaign is aimed at combatting texting while driving, but the main umbrella is distracted driving, which means texting isn’t the only way you can receive a fine.
According to NJ.com, drivers can also receive tickets for:
• Eating or drinking
• Using a navigation system
• Adjusting a radio or MP3 player
Drivers will receive a $200 to $400 fine for their first offense; a $400 to $600 fine for their second offense; and a $600-$800 fine, along with three motor vehicle points and a potential license suspension, for their third offense.
Last year, New Jersey police departments issued 13,146 tickets for cell phone use during a similar enforcement campaign.