This week, a New Jersey Senate committee advanced a measure that would increase penalties for texting or talking on a cell phone while driving to as much as $600, depending on the number of offenses.
“Right now, it’s a $100 fine,” Sen. Dick Codey, D-Essex told WHYY reporter Phil Gregory. Codey is the bill’s primary sponsor.
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“I would say right now that’s a slap on the wrist and what we’ve got to do is a slap in the face.”
The amount of a penalty would be based on the number of offenses.
For a first time offense, the increased penalty would be $200. For the second offense, a driver could pay $400 and for the third offense, a driver would face a $600 fine and a deduction of three points from their driver’s license.
The measure would also allow a judge to suspend a driver’s license for 90 days for a third conviction.
Similar legislation was passed in 2010 by the Senate. Codey says he’ll step up efforts to get the Assembly to enact it this year.