The New Jersey legislature is cracking down hard on drivers who continue to think it is ok to text and drive. New legislation is aimed directly at texting while driving, doubling the fines for those convicted of this distracted driving offense.

In the past year a great deal of focus has been placed on distracted driving. In December the National Traffic Safety Administration released a report stating that distracted driving now caused more fatal collisions than driving under the influence of alcohol, a shattering statistic and the first time DUI was not the leading cause of fatal traffic crashes. Since that report was released a number of similar studies were conducted by insurance carriers and universities which found the same thing, adding emphasis to calls for more legislation concerning distracted driving.

Some states already had distracted driving bans on the books, such as New York and California, but other states needed to draft and approve new legislation. New Jersey had legislation on the books, but some there felt the existing law was too lax and worked diligently to increase the punishments for anyone caught driving distracted. Such is the case in New Jersey:

The bill (S69) would double the fine from $100 to $200 for a first offense, and increase it to $400 for the second offense and $600 for a third. Third and subsequent offenses would carry three point penalties on driver’s licenses. And after the third time they’ve been caught, a judge can decide whether to suspend a driver’s license for 90 days.

Regardless of the legislation imposed by state laws, defensive drivers know that they should not be looking away from the road, or reducing their awareness of what is going on around them if they really want to drive safe. There is no substitute for common sense and so far, no way to legislate everyone get some either.