A bill proposed by Senator Richard Codey (D-Essex) would make it illegal to use a cell phone in stopped traffic and would also qualify the state for additional federal dollars.

Former Governor Dick Codey (Dino Flammia, Townsquare Media)

Drivers would no longer be able to use their hand held cell phone in stopped traffic, at a red light or a stop sign if Senate bill S3057 were passed. Codey sees any use of a cell phone while driving as contributing to distracted driving.

“At the end of the day, we want money to discourage people from driving while distracted,” Codey told the Star Ledger. Codey believes distracted driving is the same as driving under the influence. “Under the current driving law, if you’re at a red light and you’re drunk, you’re DUI,” reasons Codey.

Approval of the bill would also qualify the state for the federal Distracted Driving Grant Program to go towards programs discouraging distracted dollars. One of the requirements of the program is a complete ban on cell phone use while behind the wheel.

The current legislative session ends in January; the bill would have to be reintroduced in the new session.

New Jersey's representative of the National Motorists Association, Steve Carrellas, tells the Star-Ledger his group is opposed to the bill. "This federal lust for dictating terms of a grant is counter productive to avoiding distraction by cell phones," he told the Star Ledger.

The bill also add questions to the state driver's license test about distracted driving.

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