Robbinsville Teens Inspire Anti-Texting Legislation
(TRENTON) – Legislation Assembly Democrats Wayne P. DeAngelo, Tom Giblin, Annette Quijano, John Wisniewski and Nicholas Chiaravalloti sponsored to place a “U Text, U-Drive, U-Pay” reminder on the inspection sticker located on a vehicle’s windshield was advanced by an Assembly committee on Monday.
The bill (A-218) would require motor vehicle inspection stickers to notify drivers of the penalty for texting while driving. Under current law, texting and driving carries a penalty of $200 to $400 for a first offense; a penalty of $401 to $600 for a second offense; and a penalty between $610 and $800 for any subsequent offense. A third or subsequent offense also may result in a loss of license up to 90 days and three motor vehicle penalty points.
DeAngelo drafted the legislation after being contacted by Robbinsville High School’s chapter of Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD), members of which likened the need for the anti-texting and driving message to the “Click it or Ticket” slogan that is displayed on some motor vehicles stickers.
“The younger generation of motorists also is the generation that tends to be more active users of texting and smartphones, which is why it is admirable that these students recognize the dangers of texting and driving and have spoken out to educate other drivers,” said DeAngelo (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “The interest demonstrated by these students to advocate for their idea is commendable and a true example of the way the democratic process can be used to pass simple, informative laws.”
“‘Click it or Ticket’ was a simple message which helped tremendously to remind drivers and reinforce state seatbelt laws,” said Giblin (D-Essex/Passaic). “A similarly impactful message on windshield inspection sticker would serve as a reminder to those who text behind the wheel that there are consequences.”
“Drivers should be paying attention to the road, not texting,” said Quijano (D-Union). “Texting while driving can be a fatal distraction for motorists. This legislation will help to send a clear message to motorists to keep their eyes off their phones and on the road or pay the price.”
“Texting while driving isn’t just dangerous. It’s deadly,” said Wisniewski (D-Middlesex). “A reminder on a driver’s registration sticker – something that they have to see every time they get behind the wheel – may be what makes him or her think twice before picking up the phone.”
“Those who text while driving endanger not only themselves but also all the other motorists and the pedestrians and bicyclists they encounter,” said Chiaravalloti (D-Hudson). “No text is worth the risk that comes with taking your eyes off the road, even for a few seconds. Putting that message right inside the windshield will ensure that drivers have to see information that very well could save lives.”
Texting and driving is the cause of 1.6 million automobile accidents annually, according to the National Safety Council.
The measure was released by the Assembly Transportation and Independent Authorities Committee, of which Wisniewski is chair.