Multiple Somerset County groups are asking all residents and those who work in the county to pledge to put down their handheld devices when driving. If you do, you may end up with a brand-new iPad.
The final portion of a three-phase campaign on the dangers of distracted driving, those with a valid driver’s license are encouraged to visit www.TakeThePledgeSomerset.com and view the AT&T documentary “The Last Text.” Subsequent to viewing the video, the viewer will be asked to answer several questions about the contents of the documentary. The driver will also have to submit an electronic pledge indicating that they will not text while driving or use a hand held device to communicate.
On April 16, a drawing of three pledges will be held at Somerset Medical Center in Somerville. Those drivers will receive an iPad from the coalition’s newest member, Somerset County Crime Stoppers, Inc.
The pledge to “Put it Down” will run between March 19 and April 15. It is being run by the the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office, the Somerset County Association of Chiefs of Police, Somerset County Crime Stoppers, Inc., and Somerset Medical Center and Emergency Medical Associates in an effort to reduce car accidents and save lives on Somerset County roadways.
"The 'Put It Down' campaign has proven to be a tremendously dynamic means of raising community awareness as to the inherently dangerous and, quite often, tragic consequences of distracted driving," Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano said in a release. "We are all very grateful to Crime Stoppers of Somerset County, Inc., for its participation in the campaign as well as its contribution which has infused a bit of excitement into our high school student population.”
In the fall of 2011, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office formed a coalition with the Somerset County Association of Chiefs of Police, Somerset Medical Center and Emergency Medical Associates. On Nov. 29, the coalition launched “Put It Down,” with Phase 1 involving a focused enforcement and educational campaign undertaken primarily by local police departments. It resulted in over 2,800 warnings issued to offending drivers who were required to watch “The Last Text” in order to avoid receiving a summons and complaint.
Phase 2 involved all Somerset County high schools showing the documentary to approximately 20,000 high school students during the week of Feb. 27. Subsequent to viewing the video, each student was asked to voluntarily sign a pledge vowing not to text or use a handheld device while operating a motor vehicle and not to text or call someone who he or she knows is operating a motor vehicle. On Thursday March 15, a drawing was held at Somerset Medical Center and two students who made a pledge to “Put it Down” received an iPad from Crime Stoppers of Somerset County, Inc.