Coffee and Driving

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New Jersey Bill Might Make it Illegal to Drink (Coffee) and Drive

Proposed bill aims to deter distracted driving, which contributes to thousands of accidents and fatal crashes every year

A New Jersey bill that aims to curb distracted driving has received some early criticism for going too far.

The proposed bill reads, “An operator of a moving motor vehicle shall not engage in 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.”

Violators will be fined $200–$400 for a first offense, $400–$600 for a second offense, and $600–$800 for a third offense and any subsequent violation, in addition to possibly having their license suspended for 90 days and “three motor vehicle penalty points.”

“The issue is that we need to try, in every way, to discourage distracted driving, it's dangerous,” assemblyman John Wisniewski, one of the main sponsors of the bill, told NJ.com. “Education and enforcement can change the attitudes of people.”

Criticism comes from the vague wording of the law. Would drivers get pulled over for drinking coffee, changing the radio station, or talking to a passenger?

“This proposed distracted driving law is not needed, since three statutes can be used when a distraction causes unsafe actions, like swerving or crossing a line,” said Steve Carrellas, policy and government affairs director for the National Motorists Association state chapter. “There is unsafe driving, careless driving and reckless driving.”

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