Highway deaths in New Jersey from distracted driving increased by 19 percent from 2013 to last year. State Police say that as of Oct. 5, 451 people have died as the result of 427 crashes in New Jersey so far this year.

New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety is promoting "Put the Brakes on Fatalities Day" on Tuesday as a way to focus on ways to make every day driving less dangerous.

"It is an annual program designed to help move both the nation and our state towards zero fatalities, by encouraging motorists to obey all traffic laws," says Gary Poedubicky, the agency's acting director.

Experts say a big part of the awareness is fighting distracted driving. Joel Feldman founded End Distracted Driving after his daughter was killed by a distracted driver in Ocean City in 2009.

"I think that students will change the culture, if anyone can, so that just like drunk driving, distracted driving is not socially acceptable," he said.

According to Feldman, distracted driving can be anything that you do while driving that takes your attention away from driving.

"Reaching for objects ... reaching across to the passenger seat, turning or swiveling your body, turning around to the back. And I guess, just to put it bluntly, it does not much matter to me that the man who killed my daughter was not texting, he was reaching for something. She is just as dead as if he had been texting."

Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5

Also on New Jersey 101.5:

More From New Jersey 101.5 FM