You Drive, You Text, You Pay

For the past six years, New Jersey State Police have ruled that distracted driving was the primary cause of fatalities on the road. Yes, even more so than driving under the influence and speeding. During the month of April, there will be a major crackdown on drivers in New Jersey and it’s fairly simple to understand – You drive, you text, you pay!

Assemblyman Jon Wisniewski of New Jersey's 19th legislative district says, "They're driving, you're not paying attention, you injure or worse, those drivers, you affected some other family, some other lives. All because of your actions.”

The Division of Highway Traffic Safety has awarded 211 local departments, sheriff's departments and other agencies a total of $1 million dollars in grant money for participating in the campaign that took effect on April 1st. Chief William Parenti of North Plainfield says that they are looking out for more than just texting on the road.

"Distracted driving people only see it as cell phones, which has become the biggest proponent of distracted driving. Now people are text messaging , using GPS - but distracted driving can be eating in the car, putting makeup on in the car."

According to the Attorney General's office, drivers who do not obey the law could face fines up to $400, the hope is to have peace of mind for all drivers on the road.

A resident in Monmouth County and mother of a young child says, "You cannot control the other vehicles. Especially with the texting and talking on the phone, so its scary."

I wondered why this initiative is only 21days long. It is not even the full month of April, so what happens when it's over? Why is it only a three week initiative?

Chief Parenti explains, "It's a federal campaign and what they do is issue dollars to municipalities participate in different types of issues. This month it happens to be distracted driving, next month its 'click it or ticket' So, they try to focus on different campaigns to heighten awareness. The goal is to bring the motoring public into compliance."

The Director of the Division of Highway Traffic Safety told Jersey Matters that ‘Driver inattention is the most frequently cited cause of fatal and incapacitating crashes on New Jersey roadways. Driver inattention is a contributing circumstance in over 50 percent of crashes in the state.”

So just know that law enforcement will be on the lookout for distracted drivers and you can expect that it will not be taken lightly. For the full story that aired on 'Jersey Matters' check out the link below:

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