A bill to require signage informing drivers of the New Jersey law that prohibits texting while driving has been unanimously approved by the Senate Transportation Committee.

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The legislation has been dubbed “Nikki’s Law,” in memory of Nikki Kellenyi from Washington Township, Gloucester County, who at the age of 18 tragically died in a car accident in 2012. An investigation into the crash is ongoing, but reports indicate that distracted driving is believed to have played a role.

“In an effort to combat distracted driving, the Legislature has done extensive work to strengthen laws and penalties against offenders of texting while driving. However, motorists continue to use their cell phone behind the wheel, which puts themselves and others on the road at risk,” said State Senator Fred Madden, the bill's sponsor. “With tragedies occurring every day, it is clear that more needs to be done to educate the public about the serious and often fatal consequences of texting and driving. These signs will serve as a visual reminder for all drivers to put down their phone while driving and pay attention to the road.”

Under the measure, the Commissioner of the Department of Transportation, in consultation with the Director of Division of Highway and Traffic Safety, would be required to erect appropriate signs throughout the state informing motorists that texting while driving is prohibited.

“Those who text while driving may believe their behavior is harmless, but the fact is that it only takes a moment of distraction for a tragic accident to occur,” said Madden. “We have to continue to work to ensure that drivers understand the harm they can cause when they are inattentive behind the wheel. This measure is part of our effort to raise awareness and improve safety on our roads."

According to the National Highway Safety Administration, distracted driving, including sending text messages resulted in 16 percent of all fatal crashes (5,474 deaths) and 20 percent of the crashes that caused injury (448,000) in 2009.