NJ program cracks down on distracted drivers

Friday, April 7, 2017
NJ program cracks down on distracted drivers
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NJ program cracks down on distracted driver. Nora Muchanic reports during Action News 5:30 p.m. on April 6.

HAMILTON, N.J. (WPVI) -- New Jersey is beginning a new initiative to crack down on distracted drivers.

It's one of the first programs in the country to send warning letters out to distracted drivers who've been reported by members of the public.

Drivers beware: police departments all over New Jersey are in the midst of a distracted driver enforcement blitz and top law enforcement officials are asking the public's help.

Drivers can now call #77 to report other drivers on the road who are texting, reading emails or otherwise distracted and creating a danger.

New Jersey Attorney General Christopher Porrino said, "Starting today a distracted driver needs to be concerned about the person in the next lane."

The calls to #77 go to the communications center at state police headquarters in West Trenton where they're routed to local police.

A summons can't be issued unless an officer witnesses a violation, but after one of the #77 reports comes in a warning letter like this will be sent to the registered owner of the car.

Porrino says, "We are going to be keeping track for recidivism and for multiple reports with respect to the same vehicle."

Would drivers make the call?

Tony Maccaroni of Hamilton says, "If I saw someone doing that I would not hesitate in fact, it just really irritates me."

Jesus Jesus of Perth Amboy says, "All the time we get cut off by people who are on the phone texting or eating while driving." Jesus says he would definitely make a call.

In 2016, 604 people were killed on New Jersey roads, an 8 percent jump. Police say many of these deaths were caused by distracted driving.

New Jersey State Police Maj. Glen Szenzenstein said, "We've increased our numbers for this month and we are going to go out there and enforce, strict enforcement and try and stop as many drivers as we can."

Officials say the goal is to have zero fatalities and they're hoping the public will help in the effort to crack down on distracted driving.


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