CAMDEN, NJ (WTXF) - Local police are tackling a danger that happens all too often: distracted driving.
And in Camden County, a huge effort is underway for the month of April to bring awareness to the problem.
It's all part of a state-wide campaign, which is part of National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Fox 29 joined Camden County Police for a ride along to scope out any distracted drivers on the road.
This is the first of its kind as part of a department wide initiative to address distracted driving called “You Text, You Drive, You Pay.”
Officers liken it to the kind of DUI checkpoints drivers often see, citing distracted driving as a quality of life concern. They say crackdowns like these three-week statewide enforcement efforts are important to keep drivers focused on staying off their phones.
Lt. Zsakhiem James of Camden County Police spoke to the importance of the initiative.
“People become jaded and numb to their everyday practices and habits,” Lt. James said. “You have to realize this is a city, and we have children and pedestrians who are out playing and walking, and you’re driving a vehicle that weighs thousands of pounds. So when you’re distracted, you’re no longer in proper control of that vehicle.”
Nationally the latest numbers show 3000 people died in 2014 from distracted driving related accidents.
And that’s exactly why officers want to make sure safety is the top priority for drivers as they hit the road.