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News & Notes: New Jersey implements Distracted Driving Crackdown program

The state of New Jersey has implemented a Distracted Driving 2014 Statewide Crackdown program, ongoing until April 21. The initiative targets the use of cellphones while operating a motor vehicle.

Sixty police departments nationwide, including Princeton, have received $5,000 from the Division of Highway Traffic Safety to pay for increased patrols and checkpoints.

“The initiative includes high visibility law enforcement patrols for the purpose of attempting to increase traffic safety by targeting distracted driving, specifically the use of cell phones for talking and/or texting while operating a motor vehicle,” a press release from the Princeton Police Department read.

Texting or talking on a handheld device while driving in New Jersey is currently illegal. Hands-free cellphone use is legal, except for novice drivers and bus drivers. Motorists who violate this law can face a minimum $100 fine, and this number will increase on July 1 to a fine of $200 to $400 for a first offense and $800 for subsequent offenses.

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