New Jersey Drivers Concerned They Could Get Ticket Drinking Coffee Behind Wheel Under New Proposal

SAYREVILLE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — New Jersey lawmakers are considering new legislation focusing on distracted drivers, which could give the state the toughest such laws in the country.

CBS2’s Jessica Layton reported that some New Jersey drivers are concerned that they could get a ticket for things like drinking coffee behind the wheel.

“I see people eating, people talking on their phone, people making love,” said Serge Clairvoyant of Roselle.

Tim Myers of Sayreville said, “Definitely people putting on makeup while trying to get to work.”

The proposal would prohibit engaging in any activity not related to the operation of the vehicle in a manner that interferes with the safe operation of the vehicle.

One of the major criticisms, however, is that the wording is way too broad.

If a police officer felt a driver was distracting turning on the radio, eating a French fry or taking a sip of a drink, the way the bill is written, that officer could give a driver a ticket.

Assemblyman John Wisniewski said that’s certainly not the intention here.

“This is about saving lives and protecting people,” Wisniewski said. “Nobody is interested in writing summonses for drinking coffee, no more than anyone is interested in writing summonses for driving one mile over the speed limit.”

Wisniewski said with new technology and so much multitasking, the state’s law against talking on the phone and texting while driving doesn’t go far enough anymore.

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