Texters beware: there won’t be much to ‘LOL’ about if you’re caught messaging behind the wheel in New Jersey. Recent police crackdowns on distracted driving have reached a new high, and drivers are finally starting to take note. As part of a witty named ‘U Text, U Drive, U Pay’ initiative in the same vein as national ‘Click It Or Ticket’ and ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’ campaigns, law enforcement are hoping that the swell of traffic crashes based on technology-induced distracted driving can be brought down to a more manageable level.
For those who believe that texting while at a red light is no big deal, data released in the past several years highly indicates that distracted driving is on par in terms of dangerousness with other often fatal road tragedies such as drunk driving and speeding. Despite its’ seemingly high prevalence, a Rutgers University study determined that 90% of drivers acknowledge the dangers associated with distracted driving in New Jersey. Despite this, individuals polled are hesitant to curb their own distracted driving tendencies, inconsistently believing that they are not distracted when using technology on the road, yet others are more likely to be dangerous while doing so. It’s a frightening outlook that will only increase without more enforcement of the policies already in place.
Distracted driving is particularly dangerous for teens and beginning drivers, who are less experienced on the road. The consequences are far-reaching for both the driver and the community with whom he or she shares a road. Like speeding and DUIs, distracted driving can have disastrous consequences. Even in situations where there is no collision involved, the legal ramifications are also significant. Using a cell phone while driving can result in a monetary fine. Judging by the success of other national seat belt and drunk driving campaigns, cracking down on these fines is what law enforcement is focusing on intently right now, hoping to cut down on the amount of distracted driving accidents. Expect an increased vigilance among police because of this. Though you may be prepared to pay the price of a ticket, it’s simply not worth the risk.
Distractions on the road have certainly increased with the rise of cell phones, but are far from a new risk. Using the radio, talking to other passengers, eating, or applying makeup all fall under this category as well. One sobering statistic from the NJ Department of Law and Public Safety reveals that over 1,600 people died through crashes caused by distracted driving in the last ten years alone. While it’s impossible to know what’s going on in the cars around you, you can still use caution when driving.
Sometimes though there’s a call or message that just needs to be taken; we all have important things going on in our lives. So in the event that you’re unfortunately ticketed for using a cell phone while driving, don’t simply pay the fine and be done with it! Being charged with distracted driving can tarnish your otherwise clean driving record and could result in points to you license depending on the circumstances. In situations like this, call me, defense attorney Leon Matchin, at (732) 662-7658. I have over a decade’s worth of experience handling traffic matters and a proven history of favorable results.