TRENTON, NJ – The Assembly and Senate of New Jersey recently voted to create a stricter ban on the use of hand-held cell phones while driving, holding that it creates distractions and poses a safety hazard, according to the Web site www.wcbs880.com. In 2004, New Jersey allowed police to ticket drivers using cell phones, but only if they had been pulled over for another traffic violation.

Under the new law, police could stop a car anytime the driver is seen chatting or texting at the wheel. Violators would face a $100 fine for sending a text message and a $250 fine for using a hand-held phone. If passed, the law would put New Jersey on the same footing as California, Connecticut, New York, and Washington, D.C., which have made similar bans.

A recent Nationwide Insurance Survey estimates that 73 percent of drivers use cellular phones and 20 percent send text messages while driving.

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