NJ moves to toughen driver cellphone penalties

    Drivers in New Jersey who kill or injure someone while talking on a cellphone would face tougher charges under a bill advancing through the Assembly. The Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee approved the measure yesterday.

    It would make illegal cellphone use a reckless act–a legal requirement for charging someone with vehicular homicide, death by auto or assault by auto.

    Use of hands-free cellphone devices would still be legal.

    Assemblywoman Elease Evans says people ignore the law because they think violations will only result in a fine. She says the state needs to make it a serious offense.

    The bill now goes to the full Assembly. A companion bill in the Senate is awaiting committee action.

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