By: Richard L. Smith
Linden City officials said their law enforcement officers will be cracking down on distracted drivers during April as part of New Jersey’s UDrive. UText. UPay. enforcement campaign.
Beginning April 1 and running through the end of the month, the high visibility law enforcement initiative will target motorists who engage in dangerous distracted driving behaviors such as talking on hand-held cell phones and sending text messages while driving.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that from 2011-2020, 32,000 people were killed in distracted driving-related crashes on our nation’s roads.
Driver inattention has remained the most frequently cited cause of fatal and incapacitating crashes in NJ, contributing to 50 percent of NJ crashes from 2016-2020.
Distracted driving is 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.
Drivers are urged to put their phones away when behind the wheel. Follow these steps for a safe driving experience:
• If you are expecting a text message or need to send one, pull over and park your car in a safe location. Once you are safely off the road and parked, it is safe to text. Ask your passenger to be your “designated texter.” Allow them access to your phone to respond to calls or messages.
• Do not engage in social media scrolling or messaging while driving.
• Cell phone use is habit-forming. Struggling to not text and drive? Activate your phone’s “Do Not Disturb” feature, or put your phone in the trunk, glove box, or back seat of your vehicle until you arrive at your destination.