Trenton - The percentage of
motorists violating the state’s cell
phone law decreased from 12 percent to six
percent in 18 towns participating in a recent
cell phone enforcement crackdown, Division
of Highway Traffic Safety Director Pam Fischer
In addition, the number of
motorists texting while driving in those towns
also decreased, from two percent to one percent.
“This initiative was
designed to enhance current law enforcement
efforts to stop motorists from texting and
talking when behind the wheel, and to educate
drivers about the potentially fatal consequences
of unsafe driving practices,” Fischer
said. “In 2007, 1,866 motor vehicle
crashes were caused by the use of hand-held
phones and 1,421 crashes were caused when
drivers were talking hands-free. When a motorist
is behind the wheel, any distraction can be
Under the effort, known as
“Hang Up, Just Drive,” the Division
provided grants of $4,000 each to 18 local
police departments for identifying, stopping
and ticketing motorists who they observed
texting or talking on a hand-held cell phone
while driving. The two week program, which
ran March 2 - 15, was designed to increase
compliance with New Jersey’s cell phone/texting
law, which has been in effect since March
As part of the initiative,
police officers were positioned on the street
and in vehicles at various intersections in
their municipalities, where they could observe
drivers who might be violating the cell phone/texting
law. If a violation was observed, the vehicle
was pulled over and the driver issued a citation.
Participating agencies also conducted illegal
cell phone/texting usage surveys before and
after the crackdown.
As a result of the effort,
4,075 tickets were issued to motorists violating
the state’s cell phone/texting law.
In addition to cell phone/texting citations,
participating police departments also issued
387 seat belt summonses and 185 speeding tickets,
cited 27 motorists for driving while intoxicated
and made 32 drug-related arrests.
Fischer added that during
the month of March 2009, 14,464 cell phone
tickets were issued to motorists throughout
the state for violating the cell phone law.
Approximately 120,000 cell phone tickets were
issued to drivers during the first 12 months
of the primary cell phone/texting ban.
A list of the police agencies that participated
in the initiative can be found at www.nj.gov/oag/hts/grants/grantees.html
. Additional information on New Jersey’s
cell phone law and educational materials that
can be downloaded to increase public awareness
are available on the Division’s web
site, at www.njsaferoads.com.