Codey Creates Task Force on
Driver Distraction and Highway Safety
(Trenton) - Acting Governor Richard J. Codey today signed legislation establishing the "Task Force on Driver Distraction and Highway Safety" to examine the dangers of driver distraction on New Jersey's streets.
"New Jersey's roads are among the most congested in the entire country," said Acting Governor Codey. "The Task Force on Driver Distraction and Highway Safety will study road safety and driver distractions of all kinds, including cellular phones, and develop recommendations for improving safety on the State's roads."
The Task Force will be charged with studying and developing recommendations concerning the issue of highway safety and driver distractions, including communications technology such as wireless telephones, pagers, facsimile machines, locator devices, AM/FM radios, compact disc players, audio cassette players, video players, citizens band radios, and dispatch radios. The Task Force will also study non-technological distractions such as fatigue, personal grooming, food and beverages, reading and unsecured pets.
"The Task Force will have the expertise and experience to study not just the problems of driver distraction, but to look at the economic and social impact that potential solutions will have on New Jerseyans," said Acting Governor Codey. "Because a wide cross-section of interested parties will be at the table, we can ensure that the solutions proposed by the task force will be applicable in the real world."
The Task Force will be required to issue a report, to be submitted to the Governor, legislative leaders, and the Senate and Assembly Transportation Committees, no later than a year after the task force organizes.
Under the bill, the 21-member task force would consist of five ex-officio members including: the Commissioner of Transportation or designee, the Director of the Division of Motor Vehicles or designee, the Superintendent of State Police or designee, the Director of the Office of Highway Traffic Safety or designee, the Director of the Division of Insurance or designee. It would also include two legislators from the Senate and two from the General Assembly as well as 12 public members appointed by the Governor. The public members will include one representative each from the New Jersey Highway Traffic Safety Policy Advisory Council, the New Jersey League of Municipalities, the New Jersey Conference of Mayors, the Driving School Association of New Jersey, the automobile manufacturers industry, the commercial driving school industry and the automobile insurance industry. The public members will also include a representative from a not-for-profit highway safety organization, from a not-for-profit child safety advocacy organization and from the wireless telephone industry. Finally, the Task Force will include one member of the public who operates a large motor vehicle and uses wireless telephones to regularly conduct business and one law enforcement officer engaged in highway patrol.
The legislation, SJR 21, was sponsored by Senator Martha Bark (R-Atlantic, Burlington, Camden).