Harvey Cedars Officers Watching for Texting Drivers

Mar 28, 2018
Photo by: Ryan Morrill

Law enforcement officers from the Harvey Cedars Police Department 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 April 21, 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 Safety Council has designated April as Distracted Driving Awareness Month. The New Jersey campaign is modeled after similar successful high-visibility enforcement programs such as Click It or Ticket and Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.

Police Chief Robert Burnaford said Harvey Cedars received a $6,000 grant from the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety.

“That helps pay for the extra patrols we will be utilizing,” he said.

“Distracted driving is possibly the most serious safety issue on our roadways today,” said Gary Poedubicky, division acting director, in a press release. “The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that in 2015 alone, 3,477 people were killed in distracted driving crashes and an estimated 391,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver.” 
 
In New Jersey, driver inattention was listed as a contributing circumstance in 52 percent of the state’s crashes in 2015. Driver inattention was in fact listed as a contributing factor in crashes at a rate nine times higher than that of the next highest contributing factor, speed.

“Part of the campaign involves educating drivers about the dangers of texting while driving,” said Burnaford. “We’ll look to have a public awareness campaign. We’ll set up our electronic message board at a spot along the Boulevard to let drivers know that the detail is underway.”

Last summer, New Jersey increased penalties for distracted driving. First offense results in a fine of between $200 and $400. A second-time offender will pay between $400 and $600. Any motorist convicted of a third offense faces fines of between $600 and $800, as well as a 90-day license suspension.

“Any summons also requires a court appearance,” added Tim Butler, Harvey Cedars safety officer.

The Long Beach Township Police Department has also announced it is participating in the campaign. E.E. 

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