During the month of April, law enforcement agencies throughout Somerset and Hunterdon Counties will be out in force looking for distracted drivers as part of the U Drive. U Text. U Pay. campaign, a high-visibility law enforcement effort to enforce distracted-driving laws.
"Texting and driving is illegal and dangerous yet we see it happen all the time," said Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson. "During the month of April, there will be increased law enforcement efforts to enforce distracted driving laws. If you text while driving, you will pay."
Too many drivers are ignoring their responsibilities behind the wheel and are distracted with technology, creating a deadly threat on our roadways. Law Enforcement and Traffic Safety Advocates are teaming up with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to make sure all motorists keep their eyes on the road and their hands on the wheel.
According to NHTSA, 3,477 people were killed and an estimated 391,000 injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers in 2015. A 9% increase in fatalities as compared to the previous year.
An analysis by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety of 2009-2012 data found that while more than 80 percent of drivers believed it was completely unacceptable for a motorist to text behind the wheel, more than a third of those same drivers admitted to reading text messages while operating a passenger motor vehicle themselves.
"Do the right thing-put your phone away when you get behind the wheel. Save yourself the embarrassment and expense of getting pulled over-or more importantly, maybe save someone's life," said Hunterdon County Prosecutor Anthony P. Kerns III.
Chief William Parenti, President of the Somerset County Chiefs of Police Association, urges you to put your phone down when you get behind the wheel. If you need to text, pull over and park your vehicle first. "Texting and driving is a choice, and when you make that choice, you not only endanger yourself, but your passengers and other vehicles around you".
People can learn more about distracted driving at www.distraction.gov. Community groups can request a 45-60 minute informational presentation by contacting Christopher Rokicki at the Somerset County Prosecutors Office, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Texting while driving is dangerous and getting caught can be expensive and embarrassing. Save face, your money, and maybe save a life-your text message can wait. Just Remember, U Drive. U Text. U Pay.
Participating agencies in Somerset and Hunterdon Counties:
Clinton (Town of)
Franklin - Hunterdon
Franklin - Somerset
South Bound Brook
Somerset County Sheriff's Office