Watch CBS News

NJ Senate Panel Okays Stronger Measures Against Texting While Driving

By Michelle Durham

TRENTON, N.J. (CBS) -- A New Jersey state senate committee has voted to substantially increase the fines and punishment for drivers who talk and text on a handheld cell phone while driving.

The bill now is bound for a future budget committee hearing before facing a vote before the full Senate.

The measure was sponsored by state senator Richard Codey, who addressed the panel:

"Right now it's a $100 fine, and that's a slap on the wrist," he said, "and what we have to do is a slap in the face.  And this bill does exactly that.  All of us in this room has driven past a driver who's doing exactly what we are talking about.  And they are all over the road.  They are angry and yelling into their cell phone."

That fine for a first offense would be increased to $200; $400 for the second; and for the third or subsequent offenses, $600, three license points, and possible license suspension.

An amendment suggested by Sen. Fred Madden (D-Camden/Gloucester) was added: fines would be collected by the court and allocated to the chief administrator of the Motor Vehicle Commission for use in a public education program on the dangers of talking or texting while driving.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.