NTSB push to ban all cell phone use while driving is praised, panned in N.J.

The National Transportation Safety Board’s recommendation that states ban all cell phone use by drivers is getting a mixed reaction in New Jersey.

Sen. Dick Codey, who said the law he sponsored that imposes a $100 fine for using a hand-held cell phone while driving isn’t enough of a deterrent, said a complete ban on cell phones while driving would help reduce accidents.

“Being drunk on the road is safer than talking on your cell phone or texting. That’s how bad this thing has gotten. It’s out of control,” Codey said.

But a total ban would be difficult to enforce, according to South Brunswick Police Chief Raymond Hayduca of the New Jersey Chiefs of Police Association.

“When someone is using a hands-free device how are you going to distinguish,” he said. “Are they talking? Are they singing along to the radio? Are they talking to someone in the vehicle?”

This year, more than 76,000 tickets have been issued in New Jersey to drivers using a phone. About twice as many tickets have been issued for speeding.

Codey said he does not anticipate New Jersey will ban cell phone use by drivers anytime soon.

“Frankly, I would think it’s probably a year or two away. Hopefully some other states may have to do it before we do it,” Codey said. “I’d like to do it ourselves, but who knows.”

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