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New Jersey Senate Approves Tougher Penalties For Talking, Texting While Driving

Cell Phone Driver (file / credit: clipart.com)

Cell Phone Driver (file / credit: clipart.com)

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TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) – Drivers caught talking or texting on their cellphones in New Jersey may soon face increased fines and license suspensions.

The state Senate approved the measure on a 38-0 vote Monday afternoon.

It would increase fines from $100 to $200 for the first offense. A second offense would carry a $400 fine, while a third violation would mean a $600 fine. The fines would be used for a public education program.

Violators also could have their driver’s licenses suspended for 90 days for their third and subsequent offenses, and they would receive three points on their driving records.

Sen. Dick Codey, the measure’s primary sponsor, has called the current penalties a “slap on the wrist” and aren’t enough to stop violations.

The Assembly has not yet considered the bill.

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)