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article imageNo text messages or calls for New Jersey drivers

By Chris V. Thangham     Mar 1, 2008 in Crime
New Jersey Police will begin ticketing people using mobile phones or sending text messages while driving. They will impose a minimum fine of $100. It is the first state in the U.S. to impose a ban on texting while driving.
With this new policy, New Jersey will join four other states who are imposing a ban on using mobile phones while driving, but it will be the first state in the country to impose a ban on text messaging while driving.
Police will have full authority to pull over drivers they see sending text messages,
Pam Fischer, director of New Jersey's Division of Highway Traffic Safety, said officers will be on the lookout for telltale signs of distracted drivers — slow driving and the "cell-phone weave."
Drivers however can still use their phones with a hands-free device. Crash statistics, however, show the headsets and earpieces don’t make driving and talking on a phone any safer.
Nearly half of the 3,580 phone-related crashes in 2006 involved a hands-free device according to transportation officials. Also five of eleven fatal accidents involving a cell phone in New Jersey involved a person on a hands-free device.
Russ Rader of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety agrees with these findings which correlate with existing research. He told the Associated Press: "The conversation itself is the distraction…You are in another place when you are talking on the phone."
Trucker Lou Cataldo has seen many people driving erratically, most of them using mobile phones while driving.
Last year, court records showed more than 16,000 tickets were issued for mobile phone use. Twenty one other states are also planning to issue the ban on texting while driving.
Rather than having one law for every state, one would think they should instead consider a federal ban on texting and mobile phone use when driving.
Do you agree to such a ban, or do you think it is OK to use a mobile phone while driving?
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