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Should New Jersey Ban All Cellphone Use by Motorists?

Federal transportation agency claims even hands-free use is hazardous.

Should drivers be banned from using a cellphone, even in hands-free mode?

The federal National Transportation Safety Board doesn't believe it makes any difference whether the driver is holding the cellphone or using it in handsfree mode—all cellphone use by motorists is hazardous, the agency said. In a statement issued this week, the board (which has no legal authority to regulate cellphones itself) urged state governments to ban all cellphone use by drivers.

New Jersey already has one of the toughest laws in the nation on the use of cellphones while driving. And a bill introduced last month in the Assembly would make it even tougher, adding up to two months in jail to the current $100 fine.

But the state Court of Appeals interpreted that law in a decision last July that some critics say weakened the legislation. Police in Teaneck arrested a man who they said they saw holding a cellphone and pushing buttons on the keypad. He was convicted in municipal court and a Superior Court upheld a fine of $106 plus court costs of $33. But the Court of Appeals, citing an exception in the New Jersey law that allows the use of hands-free devices, said that holding the phone and pushing buttons to activate it was allowed, if the motorist was doing so to use it in hands-free mode. Click here to read the text of the court's opinion.

Some scientists at Rutgers and at Stevens Institute of Technology say they have a technological solution to the problem. They say they have figured out a way to shut down the driver's cellphone without turning off the cellphones of passengers in the car. But they concede the system may not work everywhere.

Lawrencevillegal December 21, 2011 at 04:57 PM
Drive safely and I wish everyone have a happy and holy Hanukkah and Christmas!
David Smith December 21, 2011 at 05:36 PM
You too Gal, maybe you'll get a hands free device for Chrismas and or Hanukkah.
Project Bluebeam December 21, 2011 at 07:19 PM
Que the Judeo-Christian bashers...
David Smith December 21, 2011 at 08:27 PM
In 2008, Myriam del Socorro Lopez was in the car with her husband on Bird Road when 17-year-old Luis Cruz-Govin, speeding and weaving, crashed into their vehicle. Lopez died on the scene. The Miami Herald reports that a Miami-Dade jury has awarded $8.8 million to the Lopez family. Police on the scene originally charged Cruz-Govin with speeding and reckless driving, suspended his license for six months, and fined him $2,000. As other details of the fatal accident emerge, Florida's driving laws, or lack there of, are called into question. Not only was Cruz-Govin speeding, according to the Herald, he was a habitual texter. On the day of the accident, records show he sent 127 texts, the Herald reports. What's worse is that he sent a text two minutes before paramedics were called to the accident, indicating that he was likely texting while driving.
will smith December 21, 2011 at 11:32 PM
First off 127 texts is nothing and the timing of his last text proves nothing.

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