New Jersey Advances Bill Hiking Cell Phone Fines

New Jersey lawmakers have advanced a bill that would impose heftier fines for talking or texting while driving.

The bill approved Monday by the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee would double the fine for first offenses to $200 for using a hand-held phone while driving. The fine would increase to $400 for second offenses and $600 for subsequent infractions.

Three-time offenders would face a 90-day license suspension.

Police have issued nearly 10,000 tickets per month for violations of the handsfree phone law since 2008.

A Senate Transportation panel advanced a separate bill barring mass transit operators from using cell phones while their trains or buses are moving. The bill stems from a commuter train crash in California that killed 25.