Madden/Sweeney Bill Would Carve Out Exemption In Hand-Held Ban To Aid Truckers, Emergency Vehicles

Bill Would Give Truckers Tools to Assist in Reporting Suspicious Activity

TRENTON – The Senate Law and Public Safety Committee today approved a bill sponsored by Senator Fred H. Madden, Jr. and Senate Majority Leader Stephen M. Sweeney that would carve out an exemption for drivers of commercial and emergency vehicles in the state law banning the use of hand-held electronic devices while driving. Under the proposed amendment, S2243, drivers of commercial and emergency vehicles would be allowed to use citizen’s band (CB) and two-way radios in order to assist law enforcement efforts and communicate vital information while on the job.

“New Jersey has invested significant training dollars in the private sector to educate the trucking industry on how to be an additional set of eyes and ears on our roadways when it comes to potential terrorist activity,” said Sen. Madden, (D-Camden and Gloucester). “This is about helping drivers remain vigilant and giving them the tools to assist in our law enforcement efforts.”

“Commercial drivers are not only vital to keeping our economy moving, but they add an extra set of eyes and ears when it comes to law enforcement activity,” said Sen. Sweeney (D-Salem, Cumberland and Gloucester). “At the same token, ensuring the timely arrival of emergency vehicles can save lives. Ultimately, this bill is a matter of practicality.”

New Jersey’s ban on hand-held electronic devices went into effect in early 2008, making it a primary motor vehicle offense to use a hand-held wireless telephone or electronic communication device while driving. The exemption carved out under this bill would take effect immediately upon the Governor’s signing of its passage into law. The bill has passed the General Assembly and now heads to the full Senate for final legislative approval.

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