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Assemblyman John Wisniewski, (D) Middlesex, has reintroduced a bill that that would impose fines of up to $800 on drivers who drive while distracted. The bill mirrors a similar bill in Maine, and does not ban any specific activity, such as eating or putting on make-up, but rather, authorizes police officers to issue tickets if they see drivers doing anything unrelated to the operation of a vehicle, in a manner that interferes with safe operation. Although critics have colored this as a money grab, Wiseniewski maintains that the fines are intended to be a deterrent to a serious and deadly problem in New Jersey. Cherry Hill car accident lawyers offer some insight into this proposed bill.
Distracted driving is a special problem for New Jersey residents, where we lead a suburban lifestyle. Our cars are essential, and driving while distracted undoubtedly threatens our safety.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 10 percent of fatal accidents and 18 percent of injury inducing car accidents are reported to involve drivers distracted by:
Distracted driving car accidents caused 3,179 deaths in 2014 and injured well over 400,000 people. In the Garden State, distracted driving is the number one cause of fatal car crashes year after year.
Yet still, many people feel threatened by the proposed bill. Wisniewski has stated that there are a lot of concerns with this bill. People are afraid that it will enable police to stop them from consuming coffee, or otherwise harass the public. People argue that the existing state laws against texting while driving and reckless driving are sufficient—and that this bill will only allow police officers to exploit its vagueness to abuse their traffic-stop powers.
A similar bill that would punish pedestrians who use cell phones while walking along public roads was introduced in March. It has not yet come up for a vote.
If you have been injured as a result of distracted driving, the Cherry Hill car accident lawyers at Folkman Law Offices, P.C. can help you receive justice and hold the responsible party accountable. With offices located in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, and Philadelphia, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. To discuss your case, call us at 856-354-9444 or contact us online today.