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New distracted driving bill in New Jersey

New Jersey's network of surface roads, interstates and toll ways has been described as a tangled bowl of noodles. You can add to this such Jersey oddities as the jughandle turn (turn right to go left!), the endless array of tolls and the sheer numbers of drivers on the road at any given hour. Don't get us started about the driving habits of some during rush hour on I-95 or how one wrong turn leading up to or exiting the Newark airport can leave you hopelessly lost with no way to legally turn around.

Yes, it's a challenge to get around the Garden State and the entire Northeast Corridor, and it becomes all the more dangerous because your fellow drivers are engaging in all sorts of activities that have nothing to do with operating their vehicle.

No surprise, there are consequences

The accident statistics on the New Jersey Department of Transportation website are sobering. There have been 400 traffic fatalities in New Jersey in the first eight months of 2016 with another 400 accidents reported. These numbers are up from the previous two years at the same time.

Jersey lawmakers have taken note and there is a new bill put forward that would include some of the following language:

"An operator of a motor vehicle shall not engage in any activity not related to driving or the safe operation of the vehicle." This would include common no-no's like drivers texting, but would also now include drivers putting on make-up or eating their breakfast - that's right, no drinking coffee for the driver during morning rush hour.

While this bill will likely cut down the number of coffee and food stains on your work clothes as well as the number of accidents, it's probably not realistic for many of us. Yet it does point out how serious New Jersey lawmakers are about updating the driving laws, so consider yourself warned. It's a tough state to drive in where even the most skilled veteran drivers need to pay attention at all times.

If you or a loved one were personally injured or sustained damage to your vehicle and suspect (or were told) the driver who caused it was distracted, you may have a case. It's best to talk with a lawyer who is skilled in the field of personal injury.

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