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NJ Police Handing Out Tickets As Part Of Distracted Driving Crackdown

Several cars are pulled over as part of a distracted driving crackdown in Woodbridge, N.J., April 2, 2014. (credit: Levon Putney/WCBS 880)

Several cars are pulled over as part of a distracted driving crackdown in Woodbridge, N.J., April 2, 2014. (credit: Levon Putney/WCBS 880)

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WOODBRIDGE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – A three-week distracted driving crackdown is under way across 60 communities in New Jersey.

As WCBS 880’s Levon Putney reported, police in Woodbridge have been busy pulling over drivers for texting or dialing while behind the wheel.

“How do you stop everybody? You can’t stop everybody,” Sgt. Eric Nelson told Putney.

Nelson said there have been drinking and driving campaigns for 30 years and still every weekend, DWI patrols arrest people.

He’s hopeful the $300,000 in state grant money for police departments will at least get more drivers to not text or talk on a phone without a hands-free device.

“Or get a designated texter. You have two people in the car, your phone beeps, tell your friend, ‘can you check that for me?'” Nelson said.

He said if there is a call or text that can’t wait, drivers should pull over or use less distracting hands-free devices.

Police said a common misconception is that you can hold your speaker phone and still be legal. It is illegal to use your phone in your hand at all while driving.

The national campaign dubbed “UDrive, UText, UPay,” is offering police departments a special federal grant that will allow them to fund overtime for officers completely dedicated to targeting and ticketing distracted drivers.

Statistics show distracted driving is responsible for killing on average one New Jersey motorist every two days.

Beginning July 1, fines in the Garden State jump from $100 to anywhere between $200 and $400 for talking or texting and those fines increase with subsequent convictions.

April is National Distracted Driving Month. The distracted driving campaign runs through April 21.

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