Manchester Township Police again have signed on to support the statewide UDrive. UText. UPay. distracted driving enforcement campaign this April.

Drivers talking and texting on their hand-held cell phones are the focus of the high visibility law enforcement initiative running from April 1-21. Even though Manchester was not among the municipalities to receive a grant to fund the program locally, the township’s police officers nonetheless will participate in the important enforcement operation.

“Distracted driving is a serious issue on our roadways,” said Gary Poedubicky, Acting Director of the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety. “The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that last year alone, 3,154 people were killed in distracted driving crashes and an estimated 424,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver.”

Police officers throughout Manchester, which is home to heavily-traveled sections of State Highways 70 and 37, will be on high alert for distracted drivers. Manchester’s Traffic Safety Section said that motorists should consider the dangers of picking up a cell phone, as even a few seconds of distraction—sending a quick text message or even glancing at an incoming call—could have serious consequences.

If motorists need to make a call or send a text message while driving, they are encouraged to pull over to a safe location before using their phone. Other distractions driving should be mindful of include: operating radio controls, applying makeup, talking to other passengers, tending to children or pets, and eating and drinking.

It is illegal in New Jersey to operate a motor vehicle while using a handheld electronic device. Currently, motorists violating New Jersey’s primary cell phone law face a $100 fine plus court costs and fees. However, last year those penalties increased to $200 to $400 for a first offense and could increase to $800 in subsequent violations.