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MUÑOZ BILL INCREASING PENALTIES FOR TEXTING WHILE DRIVING RELEASED BY COMMITTEE PANEL
Bipartisan legislation sponsored by Assemblywoman Nancy F. Muñoz, R-Union, Morris and Somerset, that increases fines for drivers speaking on a hand-held phone or texting while operating a vehicle was released by the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee on Thursday.
Under current law, the fine for this motor vehicle violation is $100. Muñoz’ bill, A-1080, would increase that fine to $200 for a first offense, $400 for a second offense, and $600 for a third or subsequent offense.
“Driving is a privilege that comes with a responsibility to give full attention to the road,” said Muñoz. “Those who fail to take this responsibility seriously endanger themselves, the passengers in their car and other drivers. Unfortunately, there are still too many drivers who don’t abide by the current law. Increasing the fines and penalties for those who are habitual offenders will get their attention. Respecting and abiding by the rules of the road is not an option, it is mandatory.”
The bill also permits a court, at its discretion, to impose a 90-day driver’s license suspension for persons convicted of the offense for a third or subsequent time. In addition, third and subsequent offenders would receive three motor vehicle penalty points.
A person convicted of a second offense of driving while talking or texting on a hand-held device would be treated as a first time offender for sentencing purposes if the second offense occurs more than 10 years after the first offense.
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"When you're asked to cast a vote on a bill and it seems innocuous, and it's got a hidden land mine that perhaps only an expert would see, it would sort of behoove those experts to tell us in advance rather than make us look, shall we say, a little bit indecisive later on." - Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll (R-25).- NJTV
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