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    New Jersey Goes Full Nanny State: Considers Bill to Fine Coffee-Drinking “Distracted” Drivers

    New Jersey Goes Full Nanny State: Considers Bill to Fine Coffee-Drinking “Distracted” Drivers

    Nanny state’s gonna nanny state

    Oh, New Jersey.

    Shortly after I moved to New York I had to drive to Atlantic City for work. I’d missed the memo that private citizens are forbidden from pumping their own gas because that’s a union job in New Jersey. Needless to say, after a very heated discussion with the gas-pumper, I got back into my car wondering why New Jersey functioned like a developing country.

    Because not being able to pump your own gas isn’t ridiculous enough, the Garden State is considering a bill that could fine drivers for drinking coffee on their morning commute.

    USA Today reports:

    A bill under consideration in the state Legislature calls to prohibit “any activity unrelated to the actual operation of a motor vehicle in a manner that interferes with the safe operation of the vehicle on a public road or highway.” That means no cup of coffee for those sitting in traffic, no munching on that breakfast burrito, no time to groom. (No, the law does not target coffee verbatim.)

    The bill is meant to target distracted driving, which plays a role in thousands of fatal crashes in the state each year. At least 3,179 fatal crashes were attributed to distracted driving in 2014, according to the state’s Division of Highway Traffic Safety website. Distracted driving played a role in nearly 800,000 crashes between 2010 and 2014.

    “The issue is that we need to try, in every way, to discourage distracted driving, it’s dangerous,” Assemblyman John Wisniewski, a Democrat in Central Jersey, who sponsored the bill, told The Star-Ledger. “Education and enforcement can change the attitudes of people.”

    Wisniewski and two other sponsors, Assemblymen Nicholas Chiaravalloti Patrick Diegnan, said the legislation was modeled after a law in Maine passed in 2009 that outlawed distracted driving altogether.

    So, the penalty for sneaking a bite of your ham sandwich? Between $200 and $400 for the first offense, $400 to $600 for the second and $600 to $800 for the third, as well as a 90-day license suspension and points on the license.

    How exactly does a state enforce this whole criminalization of coffee drinking or any other “distracting” behavior?

    Wisniewski fired back saying the bill doesn’t target coffee drinking, just distracted driving. Not surprisingly, “distracted driving,” is wide open for interpretation. Seldom do these things ever fall on the side of the private citizen.

    Nanny state’s gonna nanny state.

    Follow Kemberlee on Twitter @kemberleekaye


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    New Jersey is a horrible State. Why would anybody live there.

    gwsjr425 | August 10, 2016 at 7:08 am

    This is nothing but feel good rubbish. These “distractions” are already in the vehicle code of each state. Not an itemized list of distractions but a generalization that the operator should not be doing anything that takes away from the operation of the vehicle.

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