Crackdown on Illegal Cell Use Begins Today [AUDIO]
New Jersey has doled out $300,000 in federal highway safety funds to local police, for a crackdown on illegal cellphone use spanning the entire month of April.
Acting director Gary Poedubicky of New Jersey's Division of Highway Traffic Safety said the money will go to 60 local police departments in increments of $5,000 during National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, to beef up enforcement efforts.
This year's slogan: "U Drive. U Text. U Pay."
Edison and Woodbridge were among the largest towns to receive funding. Poedubicky said DHTS expects another 175 police departments around the state to join the crackdown, even without the extra dollars.
But why the increased focus on distracted driving?
"Simply not paying attention impacts the driver's safety and that of everyone else on the road," Poedubicky said.
Distractions factored into three out of every 10 road deaths in New Jersey in 2012. Gov. Chris Christie recently signed legislation that will raise fines, starting July 1, for illegal cellphone use while driving.
New Jersey police departments issue an average of about 80,000 tickets statewide each year for violations of the cellphone law.