As part of New Jersey’s UDrive, UText, UPay enforcement campaign, law enforcement officers from the Bellmawr Police Department will be cracking down on distracted drivers in April.
From April 1 and running through April 21, the high visibility law enforcement initiative will target motorists who engage in dangerous distracted driving behaviors, — such as talking on hand-held cell phones and sending text messages while driving.
Eric Heitmann, Director of the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety, points out that New Jersey is one of only four states nationally (along with Maine, Connecticut, and Oregon) to qualify for and receive dedicated federal grant funding to combat distracted driving. “This is clearly one of the most critical traffic safety issues that we face today,” Heitmann said. “The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that in 2016 alone, 3,450 people were killed in distracted driving crashes and an estimated 391,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver.”
In New Jersey, driver inattention was listed as a contributing circumstance in 53 percent of the state’s crashes in 2016. 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).
Important Safety Tips:
Remember these safety tips as you drive, and spread the message to your friends and family members:
- If you are expecting a text message or need to send one, pull over and park your car in a safe location. Once you are safely off the road, it is safe to text.
- Designate your passenger as your “designated texter.” Allow them access to your phone to respond to calls or messages.
- Do not engage in social media scrolling or messaging while driving.
- Cell phone use can be habit-forming. Struggling to not text and drive? Put the cell phone in the trunk or back seat of the vehicle, until you arrive at your final destination.
- Texting while driving is dangerous and getting caught can be expensive and embarrassing. Save face, your money, and maybe save a life—your text message can wait. Remember: U Drive. U Text. U Pay.
The campaign is being carried out during the month of April, which the National Safety Council has designated as Distracted Driving Awareness Month.
To combat these troubling statistics, law enforcement agencies will be using a combination of traditional and innovative strategies to crack down on motorists who text and drive.
The New Jersey campaign is modeled after similar successful high visibility enforcement programs such as Click It or Ticket and Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.