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(TRENTON) — Legislation Assembly members John S. Wisniewski and Pamela R. Lampitt sponsored to require police accident reports to include whether drivers were distracted at the time of an accident was released Thursday by an Assembly committee.

“A quick glance at directions, a newspaper, a family pet or even the radio dial can mean the difference between a safe trip and a car accident,” said Wisniewski (D-Middlesex). “With distracted driving becoming the rule rather than the exception for many motorists, details concerning driver inattention should be required information on all police accident reports.”

The legislation (A-1452) would require the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission to modify the traffic accident reports given to police departments to include a space for officers to indicate whether “driver inattention” was present at the time of an accident.

The measure also would require the state transportation commissioner to annually compile information on driver inattention in motor vehicle accidents and make the report available to the public. Insurance companies would be prohibited from using this information to adversely affect a motorist’s policy.

Under the bill, pagers, GPS mapping devices, car stereos, CD players, MP3 players, video players, CB and dispatch radios, fatigue, personal grooming, food and beverage consumption, reading and unsecured pets all would be considered causes of driver inattention.

“Drivers doing everything under the sun except watching the road are a menace to motorists everywhere,” said Lampitt (D-Camden). “Giving law enforcement officials the ability to take inattention into account when writing and adjudicating tickets will make motorists think twice the next time they reach for that eyeliner, bagel or newspaper.”

The bill was released by the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee.

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