You may need to reconsider how and where you have your first cup of morning coffee if the New Jersey Legislature has it’s way! The latest proposal on banning “distracted driving” goes way beyond the cell phone/texting issues we have been hearing so much about. The New Jersey Law Journal recently reported on a bill working it’s way though the legislature in an Article entitled SNACK ATTACK:
A bill designed to crack down on driving distractions has won a legislative committee’s approval, but its scope is being hotly debated.
The bill, A-4461, which passed the Assembly Transportation, Public Works and Independent Authorities Committee by a 12-0 vote on Nov. 25, bars drivers from “engaging in any activity not related to the operation of the vehicle.”
The measure is an extension of New Jersey’s antitexting law, but its broad wording leaves open to interpretation whether it applies to eating, applying makeup, tuning a radio or other activities that prevent drivers from keeping two eyes on the road.
Penalties would be the same as those for drivers caught texting. Fines run from a minimum $200 for a first offense, $400 for a second, and possible license suspension to at least $600 for anything thereafter.
Sponsoring Assemblyman John Wisniewski, D-Middlesex, said the bill is needed to staunch the run of “horrific car accidents with distracted driving as the root cause.”
But critics say the bill is too vague, especially because specific types of distracted driving are not explicitly detailed. “This is a whole set of undefined behavior that someone could perform in the car that could be considered not driving,” Steve Carellas of the New Jersey chapter of the National Motorists Association told The Star-Ledger.