A new traffic law in New Jersey could make it illegal for anyone to eat, drink, use electronic devices, or do just about anything else that would distract them while they are behind the wheel of a car.
The bill, authored by Democratic Assemblyman John Wisniewski and Nicholas Chiaravalloti, was prompted by a number of distracted driving accidents on NJ roads in the past year. The law is specifically modeled after a Maine traffic law that targeted drivers who were preoccupied and not paying attention to the roadway.
Many observers worry that the new law could mean that even someone drinking coffee while driving could be ticketed by patrol cops, with the penalties for the moving violation being quite severe. As currently written, the legislation would impose heavy fines on violators: between $200 and $400 for a first offense, between $400 and $600 for a second offense, and between $600 and $800 for a third offense.
Moreover, repeat offenders would be subject to possible suspension of their driver’s licenses. A driver ticketed three times under the proposed distracted driving law would be subject to points on their driving record and driver’s license suspension for a period of 90 days.
Although the proposed NJ traffic law has come under heavy criticism, Wisniewski and Chiaravalloti, the authors of the bill, remain staunch supporters. They argue that the legislation is not meant to punish drivers; instead, they say, the law will educate drivers about better practices on the road. Both education and enforcement, said Wisniewski, “can change the attitudes of people.”
For more information, read the NJ.com article, “Cops Could Soon Ticket You for Drinking a Coffee While Driving in N.J.”
If you have been cited for a traffic violation like speeding, reckless driving, careless driving, or distracted driving, you are going to want a skilled traffic defense lawyer fighting on your behalf. The experienced criminal and traffic defense attorneys at Garber Law will help you contest your charges in municipal court and avoid the most severe penalties. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.