New Jersey Bill Would Expand Distracted Driving Law

A new bill making its way through the New Jersey Legislature aims to curb all forms of distracted driving.

The bill, A4461, is sponsored by Assembly Transportation Committee Chairman John Wisniewski.  A4461 would expand on the state’s distracted driving law and make it illegal for any driver to engage in “any activity that is unrelated to the actual operation of a motor vehicle in a manner that interferes with the safe operation of the vehicle on a public road or highway.”

What is considered distracted driving?  It could include eating, applying makeup, reading a road map; the bill does not specifically list what is defined as distracted driving– that’s for the police to decide, the New Jersey Star Ledger reported.

“Certainly there’s no law against having a video screen installed on your dashboard and watching movies,” Wisniewski said. “All of the examples are ridiculous, except you see them happening, and you read about them having happened.”

The bill has already received approval from the state’s Transportation Committee who voted 12-0 in favor of the bill.

If the bill is passed, violators would face the same fines as cell phone users. The fines range from $200-$600, with the possibility of a suspended license.

Some argue that the bill is too vague.

“I can’t adjust the radio anymore? I can’t change the CD? I can’t look at a map?”   Steve Carrellas, a representative for the National Motorists Association, said. “This is a whole set of undefined behavior that someone could perform in the car that could be considered not driving.”

“If you create an offense of distracted driving, it’s pretty easy to define what distracted is: not watching the road,” Wisniewski argued.

Less than 2 months are left in the legislative session, so it’s unclear whether or not the bill will make it through the Senate and onto the Governor’s desk before the session ends.

Source: The New Jersey Star Ledger 

 

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