Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office and Ocean County Police Chiefs Join Forces to Combat Distracted Driving
The Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, in conjunction with the Ocean County Association of Chiefs of Police, announced today a simple yet effective way to drive home the message to drivers of automobiles who text while driving endanger other persons using the roads as well as expose themselves to serious criminal consequences.
Noting that New Jersey has just adopted new laws to get tough on texting while driving, Prosecutor Marlene Lynch Ford said: “Prosecutors have now been given great authority to charge a person with assault by auto or vehicular homicide, if it is proven that they were texting while driving. The first purpose of law enforcement however should be to deter criminal conduct and to educate the public. My office has entered into an agreement to purchase cell phone apps that will disable the talking and texting mechanisms of most phones, if the phone is in a vehicle travelling more than 20 miles per hour. This is an easily installed app for a cell phone, which could mean the difference between life and death for the driver, for other drivers and pedestrians, and will prevent many instances of distracted driving.”
Beach Haven Chief of Police, Kevin Kohler, who currently serves as President of the Ocean County Chiefs of Police Association, said:” Every parent’s nightmare is that a young driver will drive while intoxicated, exposing himself and others to injury or death. Yet driving while distracted is almost as lethal a practice. This device temporarily disables the texting and calling mechanism of the cell phone, if the phone is travelling (in a car) at more than 15 miles per hour. If the car is stopped, everything is normal. Simple, yet an effective way to send a message that texting and driving, like drinking and driving, don’t mix.”
Prosecutor Ford continued: “While this safe driving initiative is targeting youthful drivers, it is something that we all should consider installing on our phones, especially in light of the new laws enhancing the penalties for texting while driving. If a parent gives a kid a cell phone, that parent should make sure this app or a similar one is installed on that cell phone. You can preach to kids about safe driving practices, and maybe they will listen. But this app is a one hundred percent cure for distracted driving.”
The Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office is underwriting the cost of a number of these apps and making them available to the public at no charge. The cost of these apps (about $5.00) is not paid for at public expense, but rather through the use of drug forfeiture monies. A limited number of apps will be available at no cost to the public, as a pilot project in Ocean County. Interested people should contact the Office of the Ocean County Prosecutor at 732-929-2027 or their local Chief of Police for more information.