Police target distracted driving
Crackdown aimed at creating awareness
The Newark Police Department is spending this week cracking down on distracted driving.
The department’s Traffic Unit and Special Operations Unit is conducting enforcement operations at multiple locations around Newark, Lt. Fred Nelson said.
“Statistically, the primary contributing factors of collisions in Newark continue to be those that frequently result from inattention or last minute operator decisions resulting in a collision,” Nelson said.
Many of the officers are focusing on stopping drivers who are talking on a cellphone or not wearing a seatbelt.
Groups of officers set up alongside a road and watch traffic – often using binoculars – for cellphone or seatbelt violations. When they spot an offender, an officer steps out into the road to pull over the driver.
“Additional violations, such as failure to obey a yield sign or various equipment violations are frequently observed and cited as well,” Nelson said.
He said 48 percent of collisions in Newark last year were caused by inattentive driving, following too closely or failure to yield.
“Violations such as red lights, stop signs and speed continue to be lesser prevalent causations of collisions by a significant margin,” he said.
Cpl. Wayne Aston (left) runs LIDAR to catch speeders while Cpl. Patrick Craig uses binoculars to spot drivers using cellphones during a traffic enforcement initiative in 2016.