Hightstown, East Windsor police to crack down on distracted drivers

During last year's Operation Hang Up campaign, State Police issued more than 18,000 tickets, including more than 2,000 tickets for distracted driving.

Across the country, 3,477 people were killed because of distracted driving and 391,000 people were injured, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The Washington County Sheriff's Office has received a $9,000 grant from the Nebraska Office of Highway Safety for a selective traffic safety enforcement for Friday through April 16.

"We have an obligation to those who suffered losses to combat distracted driving with every means we have", Porrino said.

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The enforcement campaign, which began April 1 and will run through April 21, is a high visibility law enforcement initiative that will target motorists who engage in unsafe distracted driving behaviors such as talking on hand-held cell phones and sending text messages while driving. Officers will have a special emphasis this month on enforcing all cell phone and distracted driving laws.

Beginning Friday, police here will be on the lookout for people texting or sending emails while driving. The same drivers who describe texting and other risky behavior as unacceptable, also admit to engaging in it. "It's critical that these drivers understand the potentially deadly consequences of engaging in these types of behaviors and that they change their attitudes in order to reverse the growing number of fatalities on our roads". After several years of steady increases in distracting cellphone activities, only taking pictures and recording videos saw significant increases this year. It is also illegal for drivers with a permit or provisional license to use a cell phone while driving, except for emergencies to call 911. If the driver is becoming distracted, speak up and offer assistance. Support the driver by being an extra set of eyes, ears and hands.

According to a recent study with drivers, 22 percent of them admit to reading a text message while driving and 64 percent use some sort of entertainment on their phone. If the Global Positioning System isn't working properly or the driver gets lost, a fully charged smartphone will help to safely navigate to they destination. Remember, a calm driver is a safe driver.

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