“Step Away from the GPS”

First cell phones, now the GPS was added to the list of electronic devices that legislators wanted to ban drivers from using.

Assemblyman L. Harvey Smith, a Democrat from Jersey City, wanted to expand the cell phone ban and make it illegal to program a global positioning system while behind the wheel.

The hand-held cell phone ban, which also prohibited text-messaging, took effect in March 2008.

Earlier this month Smith introduced a bill that would only allow voice-activated GPS devices to be programmed while driving.

Anyone caught violating the law would face the same $100 fine as anyone caught text-messaging or using a hand-held cell phone faced, according to DailyRecord.com.

Some legislators, including Assemblyman John Wisniewski, who chairs the transportation committee, thought a broader ban would best combat distracted drivers.

"You could literally do a statute banning grooming, eating, changing the DVD, changing the CD -- the list goes on and on. But is this really how we want to proceed," Wisniewski told the Daily Record.

Wisniewski proposed a wide-spread ban on driver distraction three years ago. If approved his bill would restrict drivers "from engaging in any activity not related to the operation of the vehicle in a manner that interferes with the safe operation of the vehicle," according to the bill summary. The measure was ultimately overshadowed by the cell phone ban.

Until legislators make a decision on GPS use, common sense would probably be the safest bet for drivers.

"No one should be programming their GPS device while their car is moving at 60 miles per hour," Wisniewski said.

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