Distracted Driving Month Focuses on Phones

If you are driving and reading this article, put down your phone right now. April is the National Safety Council’s Distracted Driving month, and New Jersey police at the state, county, and local levels are on high alert for the next three weeks. Their mission: crack down on people using phones behind the wheel.

Law enforcement departments across the state have accepted $5,500 in grants to set up patrols devoted solely to ticketing drivers for distracted driving. Consequently, New Jersey police will focus its attention on what your eyes and hands are doing behind the wheel for the next three weeks. This means that if a cop sees you holding a phone to your ear instead of holding the steering wheel, you are going to get a hefty fine.

U Drive – U Text – U Pay

The campaign to prevent distracted driving goes by the name “U Drive-U Text-U Pay.” It’s a fitting motto for what will happen if New Jersey police catch you checking Facebook while you drive. You will pay, and you will pay a lot. The first time police find you using your phone will cost you between $200 and $400. The second offense will pinch $400-$600 from your wallet. Get caught a third time and forget about that new iPhone. Expect a fine of up to $800 for a third offense. Furthermore, a third distracted driving offense can strip you of your license for 90 days. Each of these fines includes a mandatory trip to the courthouse. Offenders cannot pay online or by mail.

Expensive and Deadly

Distracted driving can cost you more than a few hundred dollars. It has been the leading cause of fatal car accidents in New Jersey for six years and counting. Additionally, in 2015, 10% of the nation’s traffic deaths were attributed to distracted driving. Save your money, stay safe, and stay alive. Keep your eyes on the road and your hands off your phone this April.

The statewide initiative starts this Saturday, April 8, and continues until April 21.