Codey Applauds Banning Use Of Cell Phones While Driving

New Law Goes Into Effect March 1, Making New Jersey Roadways Safer

TRENTON — With Governor Corzine’s signature making it official today, New Jersey sent a clear message to drivers that distractions will not be tolerated by implementing a sweeping ban on the use of hand-held electronic devices while driving. Bill S1099, sponsored by Senate President Richard J. Codey, will not only ban the use of hand held devices such as cell phones and blackberries, it will also expressly prohibit text messaging while driving.

“The roadways in New Jersey will hopefully be a lot safer soon,” said Sen. Codey (D-Essex). “It’s impossible to keep your eyes on the road and check your blind spots when you’ve got a cell phone glued to your ear. Sometimes it’s absolutely frightening to see people text messaging while they’re driving. It’s like an accident waiting to happen. Hopefully this new law will remind people that a cell phone is not a license to be careless.”

The new law makes both talking on a hand-held device and text messaging a primary offense. Current state law makes talking on a cell phone simply a secondary offense, meaning a driver must be caught committing a first offense in order for a law enforcement officer to cite them for use of a cell phone. The bill does carve out exceptions, however, for emergencies such as an accident, reporting dangerous driving habits, or if a driver fears that they may be in imminent danger. Drivers caught violating the law will face a penalty of $100. The law will go into effect March 1, 2008.

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