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NJ Bill Would Permit Police To Confiscate Phones Of Drivers Involved In Accidents

TRENTON, N.J., (CBS) – A bill proposed in the New Jersey State Senate would permit police officers responding to a car accident to confiscate the cell phones of the drivers involved.

The bill is sponsored by Republican State Senator James Holzapfel of Ocean County.

The bill states: "Whenever an operator of a motor vehicle has been involved in an accident resulting in death, bodily injury, or property damage, a police officer who reports to the scene of the accident may confiscate the operator's hand-held wireless telephone if, after considering the facts and circumstances surrounding the accident, the officer has reasonable grounds to believe that the operator involved in the accident was operating a hand-held wireless telephone while driving a motor vehicle."

The bill would also increase the penalty for sending text messages while driving.  Under the provisions of the bill, a person who sends text messages while driving would be subject to a $300 fine and assessed two motor vehicle penalty points.  A person found to have caused an accident because he or she was sending text messages would face a three month license suspension under the proposed measure.

According to the bill, under current New Jersey law the penalty for driving while illegally using a cell phone is a $100 fine.

The bill has been referred to the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee.

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