Banning GPS use proposed in N.J.

June 30, 2009 3:56:22 PM PDT
For some people, especially those with a poor sense of direction, a GPS can be a lifesaver. It gets you exactly where you're going.

But some lawmakers in New Jersey say it's actually dangerous to use them while driving.

A bill proposed by state assemblyman Harvey Smith would ban New Jersey drivers from programming their global positioning system while their vehicle is moving.

"A lot of times you are distracted just trying to program it while you're driving," Elios Valdespino said. "It can cause an accident definitely."

Assemblyman Smith is a former driver's education instructor. His bill would force drivers to either program their GPS before heading out to their destination or pull off the road to do it. He says voice-activated systems can be programmed at anytime.

"We want you to be behind the wheel doing what you're supposed to be doing, looking at traffic, getting the big picture, scanning your mirrors and making sure you're at a safe following distance," said Smith.

Those opposed to the assemblyman's idea asked what's next? Banning iPods while driving? They said safety is a legitimate concern but added that common sense should prevail, not legislation.

"You never know where you're going to be when you've got a location to go to," Inal King said. "You have to put in the information, so you got to do it whenever you have to."

Police would enforce the GPS programming ban just like the ban on handheld cell phone and texting while driving.

Anyone caught breaking the law faces a $100 fine.

Assemblyman Smith expects the transportation committee to pass his proposal this fall. It then goes before the full state assembly.


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