Distracted driving remains a hot-button topic across the country. New Jersey already has laws that touch upon cell-phone use in vehicles. Lawmakers are seeking to strengthen the law to further reduce car accidents. New Jersey Senator Richard J. Cody introduced a bill that would make New Jersey laws related to cell phone use in vehicles the toughest in the nation.
Codey says that insurance company research indicates that “drivers who send text messages while driving are nine times more likely to get into a motor vehicle accident than drivers who pay attention to the road. Codey’s bill passed through a Senate subcommittee on Monday, and now heads to the full Senate.
The measure reportedly is intended to put some teeth into New Jersey cell-phone law related to vehicles. Codey says the “current penalty structure has proven to be an ineffective deterrent against dangerous driving practices.”
The measure seeks to toughen the law on texting and voice service. The measure would make use of cell-phones in a vehicle without a hands free device a primary offense in New Jersey. First time offenders would be subject to a $200 fine. The fines would increase for repeat offenders. A third offense would expose the driver to a $600 fine and a 90-day driver’s license suspension. Repeat offenses would be any that occur within ten years of a previous offense.
A similar measure seeking to reduce New Jersey motor vehicle accidents is being considered in the Assembly. The Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee currently has a measure under consideration.