Distracted driving is a dangerous epidemic on New Jersey’s roadways, being cited as a major contributing factor in over 817,000 motor vehicle crashes in the state from 2010 to 2014. Nationwide 3,179 people were killed in distracted driving crashes in 2014 alone.
To combat these troubling statistics, law enforcement agencies throughout New Jersey will be using a combination of traditional and innovative strategies to crack down on motorists who text and drive.
This effort is a part of the national U Drive. U Text. U Pay high-visibility enforcement (HVE) campaign that combines periods of intense anti-texting enforcement coupled with advertising and media outreach to let people know about the enforcement and convince them to obey the law. U Drive. U Text. U Pay enforcement strategies include roving police patrols, spotters on highway overpasses, and stationary police vehicles prominently placed at strategic locations.
Historically, the most effective tool used to change driver behavior are targeted law enforcement campaigns, like Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over and Click It or Ticket. Since their inception, these two initiatives have resulted in significant reductions in impaired driving and gains in seat belt usage, respectively. Distracted driving is any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving. All distractions endanger driver, passenger, and bystander safety. These types of distractions include:
TextingUsing a cell phone or smartphoneEating and drinkingTalking to passengersGroomingReading, including mapsUsing a navigation systemWatching a videoAdjusting a radio, CD player, or MP3 player
But, because text messaging requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention from the driver, it is by far the most alarming distraction.