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How Dangerous Is Distracted Driving?

Flickr User Mrjasonweaver

The average American sends or receives 40 texts per day. Many of those from behind the wheel.

In Somerset county, a new program gives you a choice if you are caught: Pay a $100 fine, or watch a safety video.

In partnership with county police departments, the Prosecutor’s Office has launched a new initiative targeting drivers who text. Drivers stopped by police in Somerset County for texting while driving will receive a written warning. They will be required to view an educational video on texting while driving within 15 days of the incident or receive a summons and $100 fine.

New Jersey has been dancing around this issue for years. Some credible studies suggest texting while driving is MORE dangerous than driving drunk. If you get a DWI, you go directly to jail and get a mandatory license suspension. Yet if you are caught texting while driving you get a slap on the wrist.

My family has experienced firsthand the dangers using a hand held device while driving. One year ago, my young niece was killed in a car crash. She was on her cell phone at the time.

This type of distracted driving is either dangerous or its not. We’re either serious about preventing these tragedies, or we’re not. While lawmakers and law enforcers continue to tell us it wont be tolerated, current laws do not deter it.

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