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Don’t drink COFFEE and drive?

I have written numerous recent blogs pointing out the dangers of inattentive driving, drinking and driving, and distracted driving. I am concerned not only for the motorist who engages in these type of behaviors, but the risk they pose to others on the road.

Is drinking coffee while driving dangerous? Should there be a law that bans drinking coffee in your car? Well, if New Jersey has their way, that very well may happen on a new bill being proposed that would ban caffeinated drinks while driving, and no, I am not making this up.

A new bill in the State of New Jersey would make drinking coffee while driving illegal, as part of a larger concern about preventing distracted drivers on the road. The proposed legislation would make New Jersey the third state in the country to prohibit caffeinated car rides. Maine and Utah also have similar laws, but the legislation being proposed in the garden state, would have the harshest consequences.

The legislation is being proposed by Assemblymen John Wisniewski and Nicholas Chiaravalloti.  A person convicted of an offense would be fined $200- $400 for the first offense, and $400 to $600 for the second infraction. There would be a fine up to $800 for a third offense, including a proposed 90 day suspension on driving privileges. This isn’t counting the price of a $4.99 latte at Starbucks or other coffee house. Under Utah’s 2014 law, drivers are fined $114, and in Maine, $119.

Coffee isn’t the only concern in New Jersey based on the proposed legislation. The law would bar “any activity unrelated to the actual operation of a motor vehicle in a manner that interferes with the safe operation of the vehicle on a public road or highway.” Coffee isn’t even specifically mentioned in the bill, but it is creating a stir because of the consequences with the proposed legislation’s strict rules.

The purpose of the proposed bill is to prevent car accidents, the way seatbelt laws across the country dramatically helped with the reduction of fatalities from car crashes. The law is also modeled after similar laws in other states that ban cell phone usage while operating a motor vehicle.

In a matter of years, this type of proposed legislation will hardly be necessary anymore, when vehicles are self-autonomous and drive themselves. You will be able to sip on your latte while riding to work, play Pokemon 2 on your smart phone or sleep, while your vehicle drives itself. However, until that happens, put your smart phone where you can’t reach it in your car, and if you live in New Jersey or might be passing through in your car, better drink up your coffee at Starbucks, before hitting the road!

For more information on this very interesting topic, go to

If you have questions about car safety, car crashes, or personal injuries, call one of our experienced personal injury lawyers at Karp & Iancu, S.C. today.

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