A lot of people are just ignoring New Jersey’s ban on talking and texting on a hand-held cell phone while behind the wheel.

One state lawmaker says we’ve been tinkering around the edges for long enough and now it’s time to enact a law to really crack down on the practice. Would you still use a hand-held cell phone if you knew it would cost you points on your driver’s license?

“Increased cell phone use while driving has only demonstrated that motorists are either ignoring the current law or are just indifferent about the set fines associated with the law,” says Assemblyman Reed Gusciora. “While some people can afford to write a check for their negligence of the law, others cannot afford such a financial burden. Instead of increasing fines like some suggest, let’s utilize points.”

Gusciora is introducing a bill that not only imposes a $200 fine but also requires the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission to impose two points on a driver’s record that can’t be downgraded or plea bargained away. Currently, New Jersey statute does not impose penalty points for those in violation of cell phone use while operating a motor vehicle. The fine for a violation is $100 for a first offense and that’s it.

“Points have greater implications on one’s license and insurance that can deter all people from violating the law,” says Gusciora. “In effect, this bill will compel drivers to be more responsible when they get behind the wheel… It’s all about the safety of our drivers and our roads. Don’t text and drive!”

As his primary reason for introducing the measure, Gusciora cites recent studies that have shown people who text while driving are 23 times more likely to cause an accident than those who drive free of distraction.

The Assemblyman explains, “Once drivers realize they face two mandatory MVC points, I am sure that the message will get through.”