🚨 NHTSA is funding a new ticket blitz that targets dangerous driver behavior

🚨 Police across New Jersey will be looking for distracted driving

❓ How much will you pay if you get caught?

April is Distracted Driving Month. If you are not paying attention, it could cost you.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is launching a stepped up enforcement campaign to combat distracted driving.

"Put the phone away or pay," will focus on cell phone distractions, but police will be looking for anything that takes driver attention off the road.


The number of accidents in NJ is down

New Jersey is among the state's leading a trend of fewer traffic fatalities.

According to NHTSA, there was a 10.35% drop in traffic fatalities in 2023 in the Garden State.

Based on miles traveled, New Jersey is among 12 states that had a fatality rate below 1.00 per 100 million vehicles miles traveled.

Our state's rate of .78 is among the lowest in the nation and surpasses a 2024 goal of 0.80.

Nationally, the trend has also been lower. NHTSA says 1,524 fewer people died on the nation’s road in 2023 and it marks the seventh straight yearly decline.


Distracted driving still a major problem

Even though the number of fatal crashes has dropped in New Jersey and nationally, distracted driving continues to be a major factor in accidents.

Nationwide, NHTSA says more than 289,000 people were injured in crashes caused by distracted driving, including 3,308 fatalities.

In New Jersey, State Police recorded distracted driving as a contributing factor in 170 traffic fatalities.

Lawmakers made New Jersey just the second state in the nation to ban the use of a hand held cell phone while driving in 2004.

Enforcement and penalties have gradually been stepped up in the years since. Getting a cell phone ticket is now a primary offense, meaning police can pull you over just for seeing you using your phone. If written as a primary offense, you are subject to the fines and a mandatory court appearance.


How much will a ticket cost me?

Under New Jersey Statute 39:4-97.3, the use of wireless telephone or electronic communication device is prohibited in moving vehicles by the driver unless the driver has a hands-free or Bluetooth device. (There is an exemption in cases of emergency or immediate danger.)

The penalties for a cell phone ticket can be severe and repeat offenders can be subject to loss of license.

💲 First-time cell phone violation: Fines up to $400
💲 Second-time cell phone violation: Fines up to $600
💲 Three or more cell phone violations: Fines up to $800 and the possible 90 day license suspension

❗ If written as a separate or combined distracted driving summons, repeat offenders could be subject to 3 motor vehicle points.

❗ In addition to the penalties listed above, you could be subject to court costs and an increase in insurance premiums.

❗If your employer requires you to have a clean driving record, your employment could also be at risk.


When is the stepped up enforcement?

The 'Put the Phone Away or Pay' campaign runs all month with pubic service announcements funded by a $5 million federal grant.

From April 4 - 8, police will be stepping up enforcement statewide.

Law enforcement has already been putting an emphasis on distracted driving in 2024.

During a recent enforcement effort on Route 35 in Monmouth County, 360 vehicles were stopped over a four hour period from Aberdeen Township to Brielle.

Among the 239 summonses issued, 20 were for cell phone violations and another 16 were written for careless driving.

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