New law raises penalties for texting, cell phone use while driving
Senate Bill No. 69 (2R) imposes increased fines for first, second and subsequent offenses of talking on a hand-held wireless telephone or texting a message with a hand-held wireless electronic communication device while driving. Specifically, this bill increases the fines to $200 to $400 for a first offense, $400 to $600 for a second offense, and $600 to $800 for third or subsequent offenses.
Under the provisions of this bill, all fines collected are to be paid to the State Treasurer for allocation to the Chief Administrator of the Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) for use in the MVC’s public education program on this offense, which will include informing motorists of the dangers of texting while driving.
These Assembly amendments change the distribution of the fines collected pursuant to this bill. Under these amendments, 50 percent of the fines collected are to be paid to and divided equally between the county and municipality where the violation occurred, and 50 percent of the fines collected are to be paid to the State Treasurer for allocation to the MVC for use in the public education program.