This month is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month and many organizations are doing their part to raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving. Nationally, 2013 saw more than 3000 people killed and over 400,000 injured in car crashes involving distracted drivers. (distraction.gov) In New Jersey alone, close to 750,000 car crashes since 2009 have involved distracted drivers and the police in our state are now calling this a “dangerous epidemic”.
To address the growing concern over distracted driving, the NJ Division of Highway Traffic Safety launched the “U Drive.U Text.U Pay” campaign in an effort to combat the problem, and they are very serious about enforcing it! Your first offense will cost you between $200 – $400 and a court appearance. Your second offense will cost $400 – $600, and the third time, you pay $600 – $800 and you get stuck with three motor vehicle points and a possible 90 day license suspension! (nj.gov)
Texting isn’t the only culprit in driving distractions. Common behaviors include, grooming, eating, drinking, using your smart phone for directions or other types of browsing, all of which will be monitored and ticketed. The NJ campaign focuses on texting and driving because it is considered especially dangerous since it requires three types of attention: visual, manual, and cognitive. It’s becoming very clear now that taking your eyes and attention away from the road, and your hands off the wheel is dangerous in several ways!
Here are a few tips to help keep you and others on the road safe. Just pull over to a safe location when:
- Taking a phone call or texting
- Grooming (putting on make-up, fixing your hair, shaving, etc.)
- When you’re looking for directions on your smart phone
- Trying to get your favorite radio station
- Checking your Facebook status (it can’t be that urgent)
Remember, it can all wait until you can safely pull over. It’s just not worth risking your life, or the life of an innocent person.
To read about this campaign click here.