‘Nikki’s Law’ now law in New Jersey

Nikki Kellenyi died in crashNew Jersey capped its recent efforts to crack down on distracted driving with enactment of “Nikki’s Law,” which requires the state DOT to warn motorists not to text while behind the wheel.

State Sen. Fred Madden’s bill, which calls for extensive signage warning of the dangers of distracted driving, was approved by Gov. Chris Christie on Aug. 14.

Nikki’s Law is named after a Washington Township teen who died in an apparent distracted driving crash in 2012.

The Senate and Assembly both approved the bill unanimously in late April. The Assembly version, shepherded by Transporation Committee chief John Wisniewski, was A3873.

The signs will be “a reminder to drivers that their activity is illegal may be enough to prompt them to stop texting and focus on the road,” Madden said.

The state’s electronic roadway signs would be used to carry the anti-texting & driving message, as they do in California and other states.

Madden represents Washington Township, home of Nikki Kellenyi’s family. Her father created the group People Against Distracted Driving.

Madden’s distracted driving legislation S69 also was approved by the Legislature and governor this summer. It provides for tougher penalties for offenders of the texting & handheld cell phone law, with first-offense penalties as high as $400, up from the current $100. Repeat offenders face loss of license and fines as high as $800.

Last summer, Gov. Christie signed into law the “Kulesh and Kubert bill,” which provides for charge of vehicular homicide if a death occurs due to a driver’s cell phone use.

Comments

  1. Al Cinamon says:

    Will somebody please inform legislators all across this country that there is no difference between talking on a hand-held or hands-free phone. Talking is the distraction, not holding! So, once again, NJ like all other states, ENCOURAGES distracted driving. Just put something in your ear and don’t let the police know you’re on the phone.

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