In the past few years, traffic and accident data have been showing that distracted driving is a serious safety hazard in the road; some would say even worse than drunk driving! So it s no surprise that many towns in New Jersey, and here in South Jersey, have been targeting distracted drivers.
One such town is Evesham Township in Burlington County, New Jersey. As reported in the Philadelphia Inquirer this past Monday, in the first five months of this year, 597 tickets were issued for distracted driving (up from 462 in that same period of 2014, or a 29% increase). What made this possible? Grant money!
Federal Funding for More Vigilance
The town received four grants from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, totaling $29,275 so far this year, to allow the town to afford the necessary overtime for officers to be especially vigilant for this offense.
In April, 38 New Jersey towns, including Cherry Hill and Gloucester Township, received $5,000 in grants. But the money for overtime is only part of the story behind the increase in ticketing in this town.
Evesham Twp. Means Business!
Evesham Township is in the Top 10 of New Jersey in the number of cell phone tickets issued. From July, 2012 to June, 2013, for example, 1,521 tickets were written! Its police chief went on record with the Inquirer in saying that he wants his traffic units to find two to three violations an hour.
Whether this is possible, or practical, is not the issue. What is, is that distracted driving is being taken more and more seriously by the police, so drivers on New Jersey’s roads should take it seriously too.
Penalties Are Significant
Although New Jersey’s cell phone statute does not carry points, the fines increase with each conviction and, starting with the third, can include a license suspension! These convictions stay on your record forever, and some towns may not be willing to plead the offense down to something else, like Unsafe Operation.
Thus if you have received a ticket for distracted driving, especially in one of these towns, you should seriously consider getting an attorney.
What To Do If You Get a Ticket
If you have received a ticket in southern New Jersey, please feel free to call me at 856-432-4113 or contact me through this site to schedule an appointment for a free consultation in my Woodbury office. If you are out of state or out of the area, this can be done by phone
If you are looking for more information on New Jersey's traffic laws, then download my free book, A Guide to Driving Legally in NJ, and Surviving Traffic Court If You Don't.