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More than 3,000 distracted drivers ticketed in New Jersey

If you have lost a loved one or have been injured in an accident with a distracted driver, you are not alone. According to the acting New Jersey attorney general, close to half of the 3 million accidents that took place in the state between 2004 and 2013 involved distracted drivers.

The attorney general said the state is in the midst of a “surge in driver inattention,” which is why, as we reported earlier this month, New Jersey law enforcement is cracking down on distracted drivers in April by participating in the national “U Drive. U Text. U Pay.” campaign.

Just half-way through the campaign, state police have already issued about 3,000 citations to drivers for using cell phones and other electronic devices while driving. Currently, texting while driving is illegal in 43 states, including New Jersey. The state is also one of a dozen that have banned talking on hand-held cell phones as well.

New Jersey drivers who are ticketed can expect a $100 fine plus court fees; however, the amount will more than double in July when stricter enforcement measures take effect. At that time, a first-offense for texting or talking while driving will result in a $200 to $400 fine, while second-time offenders could face up to $800 in fines.

Anyone who has been injured or has lost a loved one in a car accident with a distracted driver would likely agree that the fines are a small price to pay for the damage that could otherwise result.

“People need to know that we are serious about stopping this deadly behavior,” a Division of Highway Traffic Safety spokesperson said about the “U Drive. U Text. U Pay.” campaign.

Source: The Star-Ledger, “Distracted driving linked to 1.4 million crashes in N.J. during past 10 years,” Amy Ellis Nutt, April 14, 2014

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