NJ Launches “U Drive. U Text. U Pay.” Campaign, Targeting Distracted Drivers; No Funds Awarded to Lakewood, Jackson and Toms River

Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin and the Division of Highway Traffic Safety (HTS) have announced the launch of a high visibility enforcement effort to reduce distracted driving. The campaign, known as “U Drive. U Text. U Pay.,” runs between April 1 and April 30, and provides funding for law enforcement agencies throughout the state to bolster enforcement of laws prohibiting texting and other forms of distracted driving. In addition to these enforcement efforts, HTS has launched a public awareness campaign to educate drivers about the dangers and consequences of distracted driving.

Preliminary data shows that in 2022, 49 percent of drivers involved in crashes in New Jersey were engaged in a distracted behavior, resulting in 180 fatalities and over 1,500 serious injuries. “Staying focused behind the wheel from the moment you step into your car is crucial in preventing a possible tragedy,” said Attorney General Platkin. “Our public awareness campaign and increased enforcement efforts against distracted driving help ensure that drivers keep their attention on the road and off their phones. Working together, we can help make roadways across New Jersey safer.”

“Every second behind the wheel demands a driver’s full attention,” said Michael J. Rizol, Jr., Director of the Division of Highway Traffic Safety. “During National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, HTS remains unwavering in its dedication to educating drivers about the consequences of distracted driving and is fully committed to equipping our law enforcement partners with the essential resources to swiftly address and remove distracted drivers from our roads.”

To assist with the “U Drive. U Text. U Pay.” enforcement efforts, HTS has provided 182 law enforcement agencies in 20 counties with over $1.2 million in grants that pay for saturation patrols during the month-long campaign, which targets drivers who engage in distracted driving behaviors like texting or talking on the phone.

In New Jersey, using a handheld electronic device while operating a motor vehicle is illegal. Violating this law can result in fines ranging from $200 to $400 for a first offense and up to $800 for subsequent violations, along with the addition of three insurance points.

In 2023, the distracted driving mobilization yielded 7,130 citations for cell phone use or texting and almost 4,001 for careless driving.

The only local town to received funding was Brick. Lakewood, Toms River, Jackson and Howell were not on the list.

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  1. See it all the time in Lakewood and stop signs seem to be optional ,its no wonder there are so many accidents in this town. I can recall the term used when way way back in driving class in High School the term used was Defensive driving, that certainly still holds true !

  2. If Lakewood needs it the most why is it not on it. Unless they think it is pointless, cuz the driving is too bad to work on

  3. There are people who deliberately drive through red lights just because they don’t feel light waiting for the light to turn green. I saw two cars do that last week, that were in front of me and the light changed to red just when they got to the intersection (not yellow, where maybe they could have still driven through).

  4. Cell Phone Customer Asks Verizon Rep How Much Texting Costs In Their ‘U Drive, You Text’ Plan
    Upon learning about New Jersey’s annual ‘U Drive, U Text, U Pay’ program, Lakewood resident, Bill Priceman, called his local Verizon store and asked the store rep how much Verizon charges for adding ‘texting’ to a cell phone plan.
    “There is no additional charge for texting in Verizon’s ‘talk & text’ plan,” the store rep replied.
    “Wow!” he said, “Where I live, there’s a ‘U Drive, U text, U pay’ plan, which requires customers to pay for texting – but you’re telling me Verizon’s ‘talk & text’ plan comes with no additional charge for texting?! That’s great news! Thanks!”
    “Hold on a minute,” the store rep replied, “I was simply quoting you the price for Verizon’s ‘talk & text’ plan, which comes with no additional cost for texting. However, if you’re interested in the ‘U Drive, U Text plan’, then you would have to pay for both, texting and driving.”
    “Oh,” Mr. Priceman said dejectedly. “I do most of my texting while driving, so I definitely need the ‘U Drive, U text plan’. Tell me, how much does the driving part of the ‘U Drive, U Text’ plan cost, and how much does the texting part cost?”
    “There is no additional fee for driving, unless you are texting, and there is no additional fee for texting, unless you are driving,” the store rep said. “The extra fee kicks in only when you drive and text, and then you pay an additional fee for both.”
    “Oy, I’m confused!” Mr. Priceman told the store rep. “Sadly, I was never good with math or geometry. But thanks, anyway. You’ve been very helpful…, I think. Oy, am I confused!”

  5. I’m so confused.
    Are they being Antisemitic by not providing funds to keep us safe?
    Are they being Philo-Semitic by not providing funds which will result in fewer of us getting tickets (& large fines)?

  6. I wonder why Lakewood, Jackson and Toms River were excluded. Maybe some people did not want it in these towns that influenced this. See drivers on handheld phones all the time. Wish schools would make defensive driving course a mandatory course.

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