Within a short period of time, police officers who have hit the streets in full force in Newark ticketed nearly a half dozen drivers using their phones illegally. The enforcement is called “Phone In One Hand, Ticket In The Other” and WHYY/First camera crews were right on scene as Sgt. Andrew Rubin targeted distracted drivers during a four hour period.
There’s definitely no shortage of people using their phones behind the wheels but the campaign to target such motorists will help as police statewide keep a close eye during the campaign that ends November 30th and afterward.
“When I’m patrolling around I’m looking at drivers in their cars especially when we’re coming up to red lights or in slow traffic,” said Sgt. Andrew Rubin of the Newark Police Dept. “I might not be able to see them physically on the phone or physically texting, they may have the phone down in their lap and generally if you look over and someone is constantly looking at their lap every other second, that’s a good sign they might be texting or using that phone illegally,” added Rubin.
Drivers who disobeyed the law were fined at least $71(which included other fees) in Newark on Thursday. If that sounds low that’s because the City of Newark has less fees than state code under state law. However, statewide the initial cell phone fine is $50.
Meanwhile, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is funding the program which allows overtime for police officers as they work to reduce distracted driving motor vehicle crashes linked to the use of hand-held cell phones.
“You have to remember if you’re driving at any speed you’re covering a great distance in a quick amount of time so simply by not paying attention for a split second can cause serious harm or damage,” said Sgt. Rubin.
For a full look behind the scenes and more details about the “Phone In One Hand, Ticket In The Other” program, Tune into “First” this Friday night at 5:30 p.m. and again at 11 p.m on WHYY.