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March 30, 2019

New Jersey police departments to begin texting-while-driving crackdown April 1

The state is one of four receiving federal grants to target distracted drivers

Police Transportation
Texting while driving File Art/for PhillyVoice

N.J. police officers will be stepping up enforcement against distracted driving.

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, along with Maine, Connecticut, and Oregon.

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, drivers can also receive tickets for:

• Eating or drinking

• Grooming

• Reading

• 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.

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