TRENTON – The state Senate approved legislation to erect signage warning motorists that text messaging while driving is prohibited under state law on Thursday, which now awaits action by Gov. Chris Christie.
The bill, designated “Nikki’s Law”, is named after Nikki Kellenyi, an 18-year old National Honor Society for Business student and champion equestrian from Washington Township, NJ who tragically died in an automobile accident in 2012.
“The typical text message takes 4.6 seconds – that would be the equivalent of driving a car blind at 55 mph the entire length of a football field,” said Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-Middlesex), who chairs the Assembly Transportation, Public Works and Independent Authorities. “A quick look away while driving may seem minor, but it can be fatal. This bill honors Nikki’s memory and will hopefully help save others by reminding drivers that current state law prohibits texting while driving.”
The bill (A-3873/S-2406) requires the Commissioner of Transportation, in consultation with the Director of the Division of Highway Traffic Safety in the Department of Law and Public Safety, to erect appropriate signage and use variable message signs, informing motorists that text messaging and sending electronic messages via wireless telephone or electronic communication device while driving is prohibited under state law. The bill would take effect immediately.
The bill was approved 74-0 by the Assembly in March, and 39-0 by the Senate on Thursday.
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