Lighting up while driving would become a crime if legislation proposed by New Jersey Assemblyman John McKeon (D-Essex) makes it into law. Assembly bill 4306 would allow police to issue an extra $250 ticket to a smoking motorist who is pulled over for a primary offense such as speeding. The bill has the heavyweight support of the Assembly's majority leader, Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen) and has been referred to the Assembly's Transportation Committee for consideration.
McKeon, a foe of smoking, has also introduced a bill, A1281, that would prohibit tobacco and alcohol advertising within 500 feet of a school.
Legislation to curtail smoking in the Garden State has gained some momentum. In March, a state Senate committee approved a bill by a 7-0 vote that would ban smoking in public places. A similar ban is in effect in neighboring New York City. In England, police enforce a ban on driving with a cell phone, water bottle and other "distractions" with automated long-range cameras able to mail thousands of citations.
ASSEMBLY, No. 4306 As introduced.
STATE OF NEW JERSEY, 211th LEGISLATURE
INTRODUCED JUNE 27, 2005
Sponsored by: Assemblyman JOHN F. MCKEON, District 27 (Essex); Assemblywoman LORETTA WEINBERG, District 37 (Bergen)
SYNOPSIS: Prohibits smoking while driving.
An Act prohibiting smoking while driving and supplementing chapter 4 of Title 39 of the Revised Statutes.
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. a. Smoking by an operator of a moving motor vehicle on a public road or highway shall be unlawful. For the purposes of this act, "smoking" means the burning of a lighted cigar, cigarette, pipe or any other matter or substance which contains tobacco.
b. Enforcement of this act by State or local law enforcement officers shall be accomplished only as a secondary action when the operator of a motor vehicle has been detained for a violation of Title 39 of the Revised Statutes or another offense.
c. A person who violates this section shall be fined no less than $100 nor more than $250.
d. No motor vehicle points or automobile insurance eligibility points pursuant to section 26 of P.L.1990, c.8 (C.17:33B-14) shall be assessed for this offense.
e. The Chief Administrator of the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission shall develop and undertake a program to notify and inform the public as to the provisions of this act.
2. This act supersedes and preempts all ordinances of any county or municipality with regard to smoking by an operator of a motor vehicle.
3. This act shall take effect on the first day of the seventh month after enactment, but the Chief Administrator of the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission may take such anticipatory actions in advance of that date as may be necessary for the timely implementation of this act.