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Somerset County Effort Designed To Highlight Distracted Driving Dangers

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This still is taken from an AT&T documentary that could help drivers avoid a summons and a fine. (credit: AT&T via .turnthephoneoff.com)

This still is taken from an AT&T documentary that could help drivers avoid a summons and a fine. (credit: AT&T via .turnthephoneoff.com)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Distracted drivers who are pulled over in one New Jersey county have a choice — watch an emotional video or pay a fine.

The Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office launched a new program earlier this month designed to curb drivers from using cell phones while driving, CBS 2′s Christine Sloan reported.

The “Put it Down” effort is designed to be a two-pronged approach that includes education and an aggressive enforcement effort.  County officials say that instead of writing tickets to drivers breaking the law, police will issue a warning.

If drivers go to turnthephoneoff.com/distracted and view a video designed to inform them about the dangers of distracted driving along with answering a set of questions about the video, the warning will be voided.

The video features tearful stories about the consequences of texting and driving from loved ones who lost their lives in a distracted driving incident.

“After seeing that video, I have been putting my Bluetooth on [regularly] ever since or ignoring the phone,” said one of 800 drivers who have gotten warnings since the program started.

County officials said that if a driver doesn’t view the video, the warning will become a summons and be hit with a $100 fine.

The message the Somerset County Prosecutor wants to spread with his program is if you choose to text and drive, it could be your last text.

What are your thoughts on this strategy?  Share your thoughts in the comments section below…

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