March 18, 2012
Coalition challenges all somerset county licensed drivers to take the pledge to “PUT IT DOWN”
SOMERVILLE. – 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 announce the third and final phase of a countywide public awareness campaign on the dangers of distracted driving in an effort to reduce car accidents and save lives on Somerset County roadways.
Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano announces that in the final phase of the campaign, the coalition is challenging all licensed drivers who reside or work in Somerset County to take the pledge to “Put it Down” between March 19th and April 15, 2012. During this time period residents or employees with a valid driver’s license are encouraged to logon to the website, 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, 2012 a drawing of three (3) pledges will be held at Somerset Medical Center in Somerville. Those 3 lucky drivers will receive the “New Ipad” from the coalition’s newest member Somerset County Crime Stoppers, Inc.
History of Campaign:
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 November 29th, the coalition launched “Put It Down”, an initiative designed to raise awareness of the dangers of the various forms of distracted driving in a concerted effort to reduce car accidents and save lives. Phase 1 involved a focused enforcement and educational campaign undertaken primarily by local police departments which 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 two involved all Somerset County High Schools showing the AT&T documentary to approximately 20,000 high school students during the week of February 27 – March 2, 2012. Subsequent to viewing the video, each student was asked to voluntarily sign a pledge vowing (1) not to text or use a handheld device while operating a motor vehicle and (2) not to text or call someone who he or she knows is operating a motor vehicle. On Thursday March 15, 2012 a drawing was held at Somerset Medical Center and two lucky students who made a pledge to “Put it Down” will be receiving the “New Ipad” from Crime Stoppers of Somerset County, Inc, are:
Quote from Prosecutor Soriano:
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. 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.”