New cell phone law in vehicles takes effect

On March 1 a new state law regarding cell phone use behind the wheel goes into effect. It prohibits drivers from using a handheld cell phone and makes doing so a primary offense – which means police can stop and ticket solely for that reason. The law also prohibits drivers from text messaging while driving.

Clearly, waiting until you’ve arrived to do either is common sense. Why not just pull over? Why risk a ticket, or worse?

In a recent AAA Clubs of New Jersey survey, 80 percent of New Jersey motorists said they support this law, believing it will make our roads safer.

AAA agrees: Cell phone conversations are distractions and so, too, are text messages – reading or responding to them.

But they’re only part of the distracted driving problem.

Nearly 80 percent of all crashes, according to the federal government, are the result of driver inattention, such as from reading the newspaper or scrolling through a play list on an iPod.

Many other distractions exist. A dog on your lap while you’re driving, for instance. They all can lead to crashes that kill and injure.

It’s fair to say that driving in New Jersey is an activity that requires your total attention. Make sure you give it the respect it deserves. Every time you get behind the wheel, just drive.

David Weinstein AAA Mid-Atlantic Hamilton Township