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Are You Still Talking While Driving? [AUDIO]

The dangers of using a hand-held cell phone while driving have been discussed and debated for years, but the fine for doing so remains one hundred dollars.

Driver on Cell Phone
Flickr User Stefan Kloo

That could soon change.

Assemblyman Paul Moriarty is sponsoring a measure, to be considered today by the Law and Public Safety Committee, that “increases the fines to 200 dollars for a first offense, from a hundred dollars, and then has a second offense at 400 dollars, a third offense 600 dollars.”

The bill also permits the court, at its discretion, to impose a 90-day driver’s license suspension for people convicted of the offense for a third or subsequent time. In addition, third and subsequent offenders would receive three motor vehicle penalty points.

Moriarty says, “I’m not sure that by passing this bill we’re going to prevent people from continuing to do this dangerous type of behavior, but once someone is stopped, and faces a fine of 200, 400, 600 dollars, and they have pay that, I’m pretty sure they won’t repeat that dangerous behavior.”

He adds if drivers don’t want to put a device in their ear, “People should be using a speakerphone, it’s so much easier, and it doesn’t violate the law…I’m still amazed some people don’t have speaker phones, or some kind of a device that allows them to talk hands-free in the car – it doesn’t cost that much money, it’s much easier, and you won’t get one of these big fines…I know a lot of people that drive, and they have their phone on speaker – and it’s sitting on the seat.”

Moriarty also says, “We need to continue our public education to let people know that this is not a safe way to be driving around, and I think we have to call upon law enforcement to get out there and enforce this law a bit more aggressively. Combining the education, the fines and the enforcement will lead to safer driving on the roads of New Jersey.”

Other prime sponsors include Assembly representatives Annette Quijano, Grace Spencer, Wayne DeAngelo and Angel Fuentes.

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