Tags: New Jersey | Coffee | Eating | Ban | Driving

New Jersey May Ban Eating, Drinking Coffee While Driving

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By    |   Tuesday, 09 Aug 2016 12:46 PM

Enjoying a cup of coffee could cost drivers in New Jersey up to $400, if a group of Garden State lawmakers get their way, NBC News reports.

Assemblymen John Wisniewski and Nicholas Chiaravalloti, both Democrats, are pushing a bill that would fine drivers between $200 and $400 for eating or drinking behind the wheel, in an effort to fight distracted driving.

"Studies talk about how distracted driving is the No. 1 cause of accidents," Wisniewski told NJ.com. "We ought to be able stop it."

The two modeled the bill after Maine's distracted driving law, passed in 2009.

"Our focus here was, instead of going after the device, let's focus on the real issue — and the issue is distraction,'' Maine State Police Lt. Chris Grotton, who helped construct the law as a reaction to the increased use of cell phones behind the wheel, told Boston.com.

"I think it will mitigate accidents. It's a step, but a big step.''

The New Jersey bill has drawn comparisons with mandatory seatbelt laws, but the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety doesn't agree that the Garden State proposal would help reduce accidents caused by distracted drivers, based on the effects of laws banning cell phones.

"We would not make that leap," Russ Rader, an institute spokesman, told NJ.com. "With education and vigorous enforcement of safety belt laws, we saw immediate effects with fewer deaths. We're not seeing the same kind of immediate safety benefits with education and enforcement of cell phone laws."

Others question if legislation this specific is actually necessary.

"This proposed distracted driving law is not needed, since three statutes can be used when a distraction causes unsafe actions, like swerving or crossing a line," Steve Carrellas of the National Motorists Association, told NJ.com.

"There is unsafe driving, careless driving, and reckless driving."

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Enjoying a cup of coffee could cost drivers in New Jersey up to $400, if a group of Garden State lawmakers get their way, NBC News reports.
New Jersey, Coffee, Eating, Ban, Driving
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2016-46-09
Tuesday, 09 Aug 2016 12:46 PM
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