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New Jersey to crack down on distracted driving

New Jersey has the densest system of highways of any state in the nation, so we know that traffic here can slow to a crawl on a moment's notice. Ironically, car accidents are one of the things that slow traffic most -- and accidents often happen because someone is driving too fast.

Last year, 119 fatal car crashes were caused by unsafe speed, according to state police. However, for the second year in a row, driver inattention has topped unsafe speed on the list of causes of fatal traffic wrecks in our state.

Starting next spring, there's going to be a new federally funded campaign to get drivers to stop paying attention to their cell phones and start paying attention to traffic while they're behind the wheel. Safety officials say the program will resemble the "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" anti-drunk driving campaign and the seatbelt safety campaign known by its catchphrase, "Click It or Ticket."

A New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety spokesperson said federal officials have informed state leaders that a similar campaign is coming to Trenton and the rest of the state.

"There is broad agreement in the safety and law enforcement community that distracted driving is a major issue," the spokesperson said.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will fund distracted driving checkpoints to help inform drivers of distracted driving laws and to cite drivers who flout the rules.

Observers say it's likely that the checkpoints would involve undercover officers watching traffic and then identifying distracted drivers to uniformed officers ahead, who would then stop the driver and issue a citation.

It's against the law in New Jersey to drive while holding a handheld device such as a cell phone and it's against the law for anyone to text while driving.

People who have been injured because someone was driving while distracted can pursue compensation for medical bills, lost wages and other damages.

Source: Daily Record, "'Click it or Ticket' style program coming as inattention tops speed as factor in NJ 2011 fatal crashes," Oct. 15, 2012

  • Our firm represents clients injured in auto accidents. For more information, please visit our Trenton car accidents page.

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