Cracking down on distracted driving

Hudson County municipalities participate in statewide efforts

The crackdown on distracted driving runs until April 30.
The crackdown on distracted driving runs until April 30.

Mayor Nicholas Sacco and the Board of Commissioners issued a proclamation last week supporting the Distracted Driving 2021 Crackdown, locally and nationally.

The mayor and commissioners, along with County Commissioner Anthony Vainieri, presented a certificate to Police Chief Peter Fasilis and Deputy Chief Robert Farley affirming their commitment to ensuring public safety and saving lives.

The April crackdown, with the slogan “UDrive. UText. UPay” is intended to raise awareness and decrease driver distraction through enforcement and education.

Eyes on the road

Distracted driving is a serious, life-threatening but preventable practice. It occurs when drivers divert their attention from driving to focus on another activity and can result in injuries to and deaths of motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists.

In 2018 distracted driving-related crashes resulted in 2,841 deaths and 400,000 injuries on the nation’s roads, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In New Jersey, distracted driving was listed as a contributing factor in 50 percent of all motor vehicle crashes in 2018.

Law enforcement is targeting motorists who talk on hand-held cellphones and send text messages.

Other county municipalities are participating, including Bayonne. In 2021, the NHTSA awarded $69,000 in grant funds to Hudson County municipalities, including $9,000 each for Bayonne, Hoboken, Secaucus, and West New York; $10,500 for Kearny and Union City; and $12,000 for North Bergen.

New Jersey is one of eight states to receive federal funds to tackle driver distraction. The funding is used for police overtime enforcement grants locally, and a statewide multimedia campaign.

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