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Distracted Driving Crackdown Begins Today – Are You In Favor or Against? [POLL]

Lisa F. Young, ThinkStock
Lisa F. Young, ThinkStock

God, how we hate seeing the red and blue lights flash right behind us – especially if we think we haven’t done anything wrong.

But between now and the 21st of the month, there’s a likelihood we’ll be seeing more of that as local police will be participating in a distracted driving crackdown – meaning anyone seen texting while behind the wheel will be subject to a ticket.

This is despite a recent report from the AAA Mid-Atlantic Region to the Legislature stating something like 73 percent of Jersey drivers say they don’t text while they drive.

They “say” they don’t. What they do may be another story.

According to this story from the Burlington County Times, you’ll be seeing signs warning you that should you be caught texting when you drive, you’ll pay.

The enforcement blitz will run until April 21 and is similar to other traffic campaigns targeting impaired drivers and those who don’t wear seat belts.

The slogan for the distracted-driving campaign is “UDrive, UText, UPay.” As with other enforcement campaigns, participating police forces will assign special patrols to be on the lookout for drivers violating New Jersey’s restriction on talking or texting behind the wheel.

The penalty for the offenses is $100, with no points. But beginning in July, the fine will increase to a minimum of $200 for a first offense and between $400 and $600 for a second. Third and subsequent offenses will cost up to $800, plus three points on a driver’s license and a possible 90-day suspension.

This year marks the first time New Jersey has participated in the campaign by awarding grants to some police departments, said Zach Hosseini, spokesman for the state Division of Highway Traffic Safety.

The division hopes the crackdown will send a message to drivers who continue to disobey the state’s laws, Hosseini said. A 2013 Fairleigh Dickinson PublicMind poll found that 72 percent of respondents said they very often see people driving and talking on hand-held cellphones, and 40 percent said they frequently see driver’s texting.

Twenty-seven percent of respondents to a recent AAA Clubs of New Jersey survey acknowledged texting behind the wheel.

“We’ve seen, with Click It or Ticket and the Drive Sober campaigns, behavior improves and roads get safer. We’re hoping the same things happen here,” Hosseini said. “We tell people it’s not just about writing tickets, but showing people police are out there on the roads.”

Seeing other drivers text behind the wheel makes me see red – and wishes there were a cop nearby to pull the offending idiot over.

However, there are those few who may feel that cops don’t need another reason to pull drivers over – that it may be an unnecessary intrusion on our privacy – blah, blah, blah.

I’m not one of them – and as much as I hate being pulled over, especially after my nightly soiree – I know these guys and gals are doing their job.

Especially from the pinheads who insist that that text can’t wait. And trust me, I know how tempting it is to have to answer that text.

But you know as well as I do – it can wait!

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