Drivers in Monmouth County, consider yourself warned: there’s a new crackdown on distracted driving coming. It’s called UDrive UText UPay, and according to the Monmouth County Sheriff’s office, it’s being put in place as part of National Distracted Driving Month, which starts on April 1st.

The “high visibility law enforcement initiative” will target drivers engaged in risky behaviors like using hand held cell phones and texting while driving. “We have seen too many crashes on our roadways as a result of distracted driving and this campaign will hopefully raise awareness of the dangers,” said Sheriff Shaun Golden. “Texting and talking on a cell phone while driving, is irresponsible and illegal. It takes the focus off of the roads and may have deadly consequences that otherwise could be avoided.”

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration defines distracted driving as any activity that diverts attention from driving, including talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, talking to people in your vehicle, fiddling with the stereo, entertainment or navigation system — anything that takes your attention away from the task of safe driving. Texting is the most alarming distraction. Sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for five seconds. At 55 mph, that’s like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed.

New Jersey is one of eight states nationally to receive dedicated federal funds this year to tackle the issue of driver distraction. This federal funding will be used for police overtime enforcement grants at the local level as well as a statewide multimedia public awareness campaign.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Doyle. Any opinions expressed are Bill Doyle's own.

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