Proposed Changes to Driving Laws Would Affect Drivers of All Ages

Legislators have been presented with several recommendations, which are intended to make our roadways safer and, if adopted, would affect drivers of all ages. If you have been involved in a situation involving injuries because of allegedly unsafe driving, contact the personal injury lawyers at Ragland Law Firm, located in Hunterdon County, NJ.

The NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) recently recommended prohibiting all use of cell phones, as well as other electronic devices, while driving. The NTSB is encouraging all states in the nation to adopt this ban, claiming that even the use of hands-free devices poses potentially dangerous distractions to drivers. (1) The NTSB wants the ban to apply to all non-emergency use of electronic devices. (2)

The American Automobile Association has stated that one-third of U.S. drivers use their cell phones regularly or fairly often while driving. The Department of Transportation claims that the simple fact of a phone conversation causes drivers to miss both audio and visual cues that could have helped them avoid an accident. (1)

Many states including New Jersey already have strong cell phone use laws on their books that prohibit texting and use of hand-held phones. Some even prohibit the use of hands-free devices for certain drivers, such as new drivers and school bus operators. No state, however, has banned the devices for all drivers and the NTSB has no authority to impose such changes.

Other changes pending legislative approval in New Jersey include stiffer rules for teen drivers.

Earlier this month, the State Assembly Transportation Committee approved the proposed changes which would include extending the driver’s permit period to one year from six months for drivers younger than 21, and would require drivers under 18 to participate in a driver’s orientation program with a parent or other adult before applying for a driver’s license. In addition, young drivers would be required to have 100 practice hours before getting their license. Accounting for these hours would be done on an “honor system” basis and attested to by the driver’s parents. (3)

New Jersey already has some of the toughest laws in the country regarding young drivers. However, supporters of the proposed changes believe that teaching safe driving habits to young drivers will prevent more accidents among our State’s youth.

If you have been involved in a New Jersey accident, because the driver was on a cell phone or other electronic device, contact the attorneys at Ragland Law Firm with its offices at 502 Route 22 West in Lebanon, New Jersey.

(1) http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20111218-704971.html

(2) http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/2011/12/cell-phone-ban-in-cars-what-do-you-think.html

(3) http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2011/11/nj_teens_may_face_longer_road.html