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New Jersey bill proposes strictest distracted driving ban

Two assemblymen from New Jersey recently proposed a bill that, if it passes, will be the most restrictive distracted driving law in the United States. The proposed bill will ban additional activities behind the wheel besides cellphone usage.

The terms of the bill would prohibit "any activity, not related to the operation of the vehicle, in a manner that interferes with the safe operation of the vehicle." For instance, New Jersey drivers will no longer be able to enjoy a cup of coffee on their morning commute or nosh on a bagel.

Utah and Maine have passed similar statutes, but the penalties proposed by the New Jersey bill are far harsher and more expensive. Even first offenders would face fines of $200 to $400. Drivers who are convicted of drinking a second cup of coffee while driving could owe as much as $600, and the real scofflaws who chow down or slurp behind the wheel for a third offense could find themselves out as much as $800.

It's not just the fines, either. Third and subsequent offenders could get three points against their New Jersey licenses and even face having their licenses suspended.

However, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety opposes the proposed law. The organization's spokesman stated, "Addressing distracted driving through new laws is not likely to be an effective approach to make roads safer."

Certainly, distracted driving is to be avoided at all costs. Whether this bill is going too far in that direction remains to be seen at this time. Those who have been injured in accidents caused by distracted and negligent drivers have the right to pursue claims for damages through the New Jersey civil court system.

Source: Fortune, "This State Is Proposing the Harshest Distracted Driving Law in the Nation," Michael Addady, accessed Sep. 09, 2016

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