Bill Would Ban Motorists from Drinking Coffee and Driving
The state of New Jersey might ban drivers from having a cup of coffee or eating while driving.
A bill under consideration in the state Legislature calls to prohibit "any activity unrelated to the actual operation of a motor vehicle in a manner that interferes with the safe operation of the vehicle on a public road or highway." That means no cup of coffee and no eating.
The bill is meant to target distracted driving, which, according to the state's Division of Highway Traffic Safety website, includes 3,179 fatal crashes that were attributed to distracted driving in 2014. Distracted driving played a role in nearly 800,000 crashes between 2010 and 2014.
"The issue is that we need to try, in every way, to discourage distracted driving, it's dangerous," Assemblyman John Wisniewski, a Democrat in Central Jersey, who sponsored the bill, told The Star-Ledger. "Education and enforcement can change the attitudes of people."
Wisniewski and two other sponsors, Assemblymen Nicholas Chiaravalloti Patrick Diegnan, said the legislation was modeled after a law in Maine passed in 2009 that outlawed distracted driving altogether.
The penalty for violating the law would be $200 and $400 for the first offense, $400 to $600 for the second and $600 to $800 for the third, as well as a 90-day license suspension and points on the license.