NJ cell phone crackdown

March 3, 2009 4:25:06 PM PST
Talking on the cell while driving is already against the law in New Jersey but there's even more reason to hang it up now.

In the span of three hours Pitman patrolman Tom Zander issued ten tickets to motorists who were talking on their cell phones without using a hands free device.

"They hide it real quick, they put it down, they act like they weren't on it in the first place and some people just fess up and admit that they were caught."

Pitman is one of 18 municipalities in New Jersey that received a $4-thousand grant to cover police overtime in an effort to crackdown on drivers talking or texting in violation of New Jersey cell phone law.

The stepped up enforcement is just for two weeks but officials say it's enough to send a strong message that violating the law will cost you $130.

Ed Fitzpatrick was stopped Tuesday; perhaps he should have taken his wife's advice.

"Do you have a hands free device," Cathy Gandolfo asked.

Ed replied, "yeah my wife bought me one for Christmas, it's sitting at home still."

Some might ask the question 'don't police have more serious offenses to go after' police say violating the hands free cell phone law is a serious offense because it's a distraction that can lead to accidents.

"Hopefully beyond the tickets and the summons that we issue we'll be able to educate the general public and make them aware that this is something we take serious," said Lt. Dan McAtter.

Pitman police issued at least 18 tickets on the first day of the enhanced enforcement. They say it just scratches the surface of the number of drivers who continue to ignore the cell phone law.

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