N.J. may get tougher on texting behind the wheel

A New Jersey lawmaker wants to make it illegal for drivers to text on their phones — even when they’re stopped at a red light or a stop sign.

State Sen. Dick Codey already has spearheaded measures to increase the penalties for texting while driving. Now he proposes to expand the law so New Jersey is eligible for federal grants to curb distracted driving.

It’s simple, Codey said. Drivers who need to text should pull off the road.

“Otherwise don’t do it. Because if you’re in the habit of doing it at the traffic light, you’re going to continue that texting after the traffic light has turned green,” said Codey, D-Essex.

Others, including Steve Carrellas, the New Jersey representative of the National Motorists Association, say the measure would be counterproductive.

“Adding this additional restriction starts getting unreasonable, and it’s going to turn people off who you’ve already captured into doing the right thing,” he said.

There’s no indication whether Codey’s proposal will get enough support to be approved by the Legislature.

It’s already illegal to text or talk on a handheld device while driving in New Jersey.

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