Received and allocated by the Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office, a $45,000 grant from the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety will fund a police crackdown on distracted drivers in 16 Gloucester County towns during April. Beginning April 1 through April 21, the high-visibility law enforcement initiative will target drivers who engage in dangerous distracted driving such as talking on hand-held cell phones or sending text messages while driving. “Distracted driving is a serious issue on our roadways,” said Gary Poedubicky, Acting Director of the state Division of Highway Traffic Safety.  “The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that in 2014 alone, 3,179 people were killed in distracted driving crashes and an estimated 431,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver.”

Despite the fact that using a hand-held cell phone or texting while driving is illegal in New Jersey, the practice appears to be widespread.  In a recent survey conducted by the FDU PublicMind Poll for the Division of Highway Traffic Safety, 67 percent of respondents said they “very often” see people driving and talking on a hand-held cell phone, and 42 percent of respondents said they “very often” see drivers texting.  “We are pleased to be working with the state Division of Highway Traffic Safety and with local police throughout Gloucester County on this important initiative to make our roadways safer,  said Gloucester County Prosecutor Sean F. Dalton.

The campaign funding additional patrols for enforcement of laws prohibiting distracted driving coincides with the National Safety Council’s designation of April as Distracted Driving Awareness Month.  The NJ campaign is modeled on similar enforcement programs on seat belt use and intoxication such as “Click It or Ticket” and “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.” In Gloucester County, extra patrols will be funded in Woodbury, Franklin, East Greenwich, Monroe, Harrison, Logan, Washington Township, Westville, Mantua, West Deptford, Deptford, Woolwich, Pitman, Clayton, Greenwich and Woodbury Heights.