New Jersey Considers Banning Drivers From Operating GPS

The Newspaper
by The Newspaper

A New Jersey state lawmaker wants to make it a crime for drivers to touch the screen of a satellite navigation device in a moving vehicle. Earlier this month, state Assemblyman L. Harvey Smith (D-Hudson) introduced legislation to expand the state’s existing prohibition on using a cell phone behind the wheel. “This bill would amend current law to also prohibit the manual operation of a global positioning system (GPS) device or similar navigation device by the operator of a moving motor vehicle,” the official summary for A4064 explains. “The bill would allow the operator to use a voice-activated GPS device.”

Motorists pulled over for the newly created offense would face a $100 fine without license points. A more broadly worded proposal to ban GPS operation while driving has been adopted in Spain’s legislative body with penalties of 100 euros (US $140) with points.

While no vote has been taken on Smith’s idea, such bill introductions can sometimes reflect a national trend. In 2005, a bill introduced in the New Jersey legislature to ban smoking in cars carrying children went nowhere. Now the idea is law in Arkansas, California, Louisiana and Maine with three dozen states considering adopting similar bans.

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4 of 23 comments
  • Moedaman Moedaman on Jun 22, 2009
    ZoomZoom : June 21st, 2009 at 11:35 pm Why do we even have to put more laws on the books in the first place? Why not just do what the law ALREADY SAYS, and enforce it? If somebody is at fault in an accident, a proper investigation should be conducted. If they were dialing the cell or texting or emailing, or if they were doing something else that drew their attention away from the road (like reading the paper or eating a bowl of oatmeal), then hit them with a $10,000 fine in addition to any court costs or lawsuit losses. All it would take is two or four of these, and people would do what people do best. ADAPT. And ADOPT. Common sense, that is. Because they then can't issue tickets outside of an accident situation. It's all about the money.
  • GS650G GS650G on Jun 22, 2009

    This also gives cops a reason to pull you over for a look see at your paperwork, a sniff of your breath, maybe a peek into the back seat. How many routine traffic stops turn into financial windfalls. Truckers get the roadside safety inspection, they can even weigh and measure your children to see if they should legally be in a booster seat (80 lbs and 8 years of age) and fine accordingly. NJ should just set up checkpoints all over the place and hand out fines written in Esperanto that no one can decode, with 3 days to pay, and a little brochure about how great NJ roads, public schools, and community services are Thanks to You!

  • Anonymous Anonymous on Jun 22, 2009

    Contrary to the popular sentiment on this site, I think GPS units, cell phones, etc. are a big distrction and shouldn't be used by the driver of a car. However, the problem is how would you even enforce this law? Just like a retired CHP officer told us in a driver safety class, the new law against anyone under the age of 18 texting while driving is completely unenforceable. The cops can't know that soemoe was using GPS while drivign anymore than they can know that a teenager was texting while driving. There could be other reasons they were unable to keep the car on the road. The real solution is to make people pay for their mistakes no matter the reason. Locally, a lady rearended a car stopped at a traffic controlled road construction site because she was paying bills over her cell phone while driving at 60+ mph. The lady driving the car that was rearended died. The punishment doled out after the moron was convicted for "vehicular manslaughter"? Five lousy years. The worst part was the offender was ticketed for using a cell phone while driving less than 6 months after the original murder (lets call it what it is), while she was out on bail. Killing somebody really made a big impression on her, didn't it. Maybe the judicial system should have attempted to make a bigger impression by handing down a real sentence. And, maybe we should treat people as though they should be responsible for their actions rather than attempting to criminalize the acts that potentially lead to the real crimes.

  • Yankinwaoz Yankinwaoz on Jun 22, 2009

    Yesterday is was mobile phone. Today it is GPS. Tomorrow it is something else. Besides electronic gadgets, there are plenty of other distractions. Remember car stereo equalizers? Audiophiles would have to adjust the settings for every damn song that came on. That HAD to be distracting, but they remained legal. Why can't they simply pass a law that requires the operator to pay attention to the road?