If you are reading this post on your cell phone, you'd better be sure
that you aren't driving while doing it. New Jersey lawmakers are taking
what they classify as distracted driving seriously, and violating laws
regarding cell phone use behind the wheel is going to cost New Jersey
drivers lots of money.
Unlike in some other states, it is already against the law to use a handheld
device while driving in New Jersey. (Some other states have laws that
are tougher to enforce because they simply ban texting while driving.
That's hard to prove.) The ban against texting, talking and reading
on a phone will remain, but traffic safety advocates want to increase
the fines for
traffic tickets resulting from the traffic offense.
Earlier this week the General Assembly approved a legislative proposal
that, if passed, would make for the following traffic offense fines:
- A first offense of distracted driving would cost a driver between $200 and $400.
- A second offense of distracted driving would cost a driver between $400 and $600.
- A third offense or higher of distracted driving would cost a driver between
$600 and $800, and the possible suspension of his driver's license.
The fact that some disagree with the reasoning behind distracted driving
laws doesn't seem to stop states from enacting laws that set people
up to be ticketed. This particular proposal still needs to be approved
higher up on the lawmaking ladder, but based on its overwhelming approval
to this point, New Jersey drivers might want to prepare for some expensive
Source: NJ Today, "Assembly Approves Tougher Penalties For Drivers Who Text," March 21, 2013