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A NJ State Senate Committee Seeks Higher Penalties for Texting While Driving

Posted on Jun 05, 2012

Texting while driving is certainly a distraction that can have serious consequences, as can be seen from the recent death of Nikki Kellenyi in Washington Township, New Jersey. Although there is currently a law on the books for which drivers can be ticketed, lawmakers in Trenton are seeking to stiffen the penalty.

The fine is currently $100, but if Senator Richard Cody and the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee are successful, talking or texting on a cell phone would cost $200 for a first offense, $400 for the second, and $600 plus three points for a third (within a 10 year period). The proposed change would also allow a judge to suspend a driver's license for 90 days for a third conviction. The fines would go towards a public information program about the dangers of texting while driving.

Unlike other moves by legislators, like Caylee's Law and the Anti-Bullying Law, this one was not inspired by the Kellenyi tragedy, as the Senate passed similar legislation in 2010. Codey says that he will step up efforts to get the Assembly to enact it this year.

I must agree that something like this needs to be done.  Many times I have seen people in traffic court plead to a cell phone violation to avoid the penalties and points on a more serious infraction!  Distracted driving in general must be dealt with to avoid more tragedies in our ever-increasingly mobile information age.

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