FLEMINGTON, NJ - From April 8 to April 13, law enforcement agencies throughout Hunterdon and Somersetcounties will be using a combination of traditional and innovative strategies to crack down on motorists who text or talk on their cell phones while driving.

April is National Distracted Driving Awareness month and the objectives of the national high-visibility enforcement campaign U DRIVE, U TEXT, U PAY are to conduct intense enforcement of cell phone laws and to convince drivers to obey the law.

“Driving and using an electronic communications device is not only dangerous and irresponsible, it’s illegal,” said Acting Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson. “Drivers who violate our state’s cell phone law will be stopped and fined. This is a major problem on our roadways, and violators must realize that if you drive and text, you will pay.”

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In 2014, on our nation’s highways, an estimated 3,179 people were killed (10 percent of all crash fatalities) and an additional 431,000 were injured (18 percent of all crash injuries) in motor vehicle crashes involv­ing distracted drivers. Locally, there were 15,877 crashes reported to police in Hunterdon and Somerset and counties during 2014. Of those 6,889, or 43 percent, were a result of driver inattention or distracted driving.

According to a 2014 special article in the New England Journal of Medicine, the risk of a crash or near-crash among drivers increased with the performance of many secondary tasks, including texting and dialing cell phones.

“The use of an electronic communications device while operating a motor vehicle requires a motorist to take their eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, and mind off the task of driving. This is a recipe for a crash. This behavior is dangerous and illegal and no one has the right to put another person’s life at risk like that,” said Hunterdon County Prosecutor Anthony P. Kearns, III.

For more information, visit www.distraction.gov and www.sctddd.org