LINDEN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — In Linden, local police are on the lookout for distracted drivers, ready to write tickets for people talking or texting on their cell phones.

It’s a scene that will be playing out in police departments all over the country this month as part of an effort to save lives.

“This is one of the biggest safety concerns in the country right now,” said Lt. Christopher Gunther of the Linden Police.

The initiative is called “You text, you drive, you pay.”

From April 8-21, law enforcement nationwide will be extra vigilant on patrol, cracking down on offenders.

The statistics tell the story: Some 3,166 people were killed in distracted driving crashes in New Jersey in 2016. An estimated 47,000 were injured in crashes involving distracted driving. Police say that has got to change.

“Cars are going to go go out there just looking for people on their phones, pull them over and give them a ticket,” Gunther said.

New Jersey state officials say first offenders will be fined up to $400, second offenders up to $600, third offenders up to $800 and 3 points and a possible 90 days license suspension.

New Jersey drivers CBS2’s Scott Rapoport spoke to reacted to the new measure.

“That’s the law. Gotta follow the law, right?” one said.

“If it saves one life, it’s worth it,” said another.

Officials say millennials have become the biggest texting-while-driving offenders, but are hoping the crackdown will send a message to drivers of all ages.


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