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New Jersey could up the price of distracted driving tickets

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 traffic tickets.

Source: NJ Today, "Assembly Approves Tougher Penalties For Drivers Who Text," March 21, 2013

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