ELIZABETH, NJ - The Elizabeth Police Department will be cracking down on distracted drivers during the month of April as part of New Jersey's “UDrive. UText. UPay.” enforcement campaign.

The “U Drive. U Text. U Pay.” campaign, which runs through April 21, is aimed at saving lives and making New Jersey roadways safer.

In Union County, the Elizabeth Police Department was one of six cities to receive $5,500 in funding for this high visibility law enforcement initiative that targets motorists who engage in dangerous distracted driving behaviors, such as talking on hand-held cell phones and sending text messages while driving.

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Other cities to receive the funding were Berkeley Heights, Cranford, Hillside, Linden, and Union.

Distracted driving is any activity that diverts the vehicle operator's attention away from the primary task of driving which includes; texting, using a cell phone, grooming, talking, eating/drinking, adjusting the radio/cd player, watching a video, using a navigation system and reading.

“Driver inattention is a leading cause of crashes in our state. Those who talk or text behind the wheel are a danger to themselves and everyone else on the road,” said Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal. “Public safety demands that we crack down on these individuals as aggressively as we do those who drive without seatbelts or while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.”

It is illegal in New Jersey to operate a motor vehicle while using a handheld electronic device. Violating this law will subject motorists to fines of $200 to $400 for a first offense and could increase to $800 with the addition of three insurance points in subsequent violations.

"Distracted driving is one of the most critical traffic safety issues that we face today,” said Eric Heitmann, Director of the Division of Highway Traffic Safety. “As with many improper driving behaviors, distracted driving is a choice that drivers make. The ‘U Drive. U Text. U Pay.’ campaign raises driver awareness of the choices they make and encourages better driving behaviors that make our roadways safer.”

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