New Jersey transportation officials are trying an unusual new tactic to cut down on distracted driving.
New Jersey Hopes To Fight Traffic Deaths With Distracted Driving Campaign
In response to an 8% increase in traffic fatalities, Attorney General Christopher Porrino announced a new program to help combat the distracted driving epidemic. New Jersey is encouraging anyone who spots a distracted driver to call #77 to report the incident. Callers are urged to report the vehicle make, model, and color as well as the license plate number when they use the #77 system. The calls will then be routed to the proper local police department. If police believe that the driver is dangerous, an officer may be dispatched to locate the offender.
It isn’t possible to issue a citation if a law enforcement officer does not witness the behavior, but New Jersey will issue a warning letter to the registered owner of the vehicle if they do not send an officer out to investigate. Police will also be using the #77 system to try to identify repeat offenders.
Porrino stressed that drivers who want to report distracted driving should use a hands-free Bluetooth system or pullover on the side of the road: “I think it is very important to be clear that we must not have people distracted by reporting distracted drivers.”
Troopers Increase Distracted Driving Patrols
New Jersey State Police have also increased their patrols this month in order to catch more distracted drivers. They have 80 separate distracted driving enforcement units active throughout the state, many of whom are in unmarked vehicles and in plain clothes.
The #77 was previously used only to report aggressive drivers. The expansion to include distracted drivers makes this the first system of its type in the U.S.