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Understanding Distracted Driving Laws in New Jersey

man texting and driving

New Jersey has some of the strictest distracted driving laws in the country and considers behaviors other than cell phone use and texting while driving.

Fines are steep and local law enforcement is notorious for cracking down on distracted drivers with initiatives such as “U Drive. U Text. U Pay.,” which rolled out this April.

What Is Distracted Driving?

According to New Jersey’s Office of the Attorney General, the following actions can be considered distracted driving:

  • Using a cell phone or smartphone
  • Texting while driving
  • Watching a video
  • Reading, including maps or directions
  • Using a navigation system
  • Adjusting a radio or other musical device
  • Eating or drinking
  • Grooming (shaving, applying lipstick, etc.)
  • Engaging with other passengers
  • Wrangling children or pets

If you are caught doing any of the above while driving, you can be fined. After multiple offenses, your drivers’ license may even be suspended.

What Are New Jersey’s Texting While Driving Laws?

Per P.L.2003, c.310, using a wireless telephone or electronic communication device while driving is generally unlawful in New Jersey. The law makes an exception for drivers who are using their devices in a hands-free mode, as long as their devices do not interfere with safety equipment and the driver exercises caution.

If a driver is reporting an emergency or fears for their life and safety, they are exempt from the law and may use their cell phone with one hand on the steering wheel.

What Are the Penalties for Using Your Cell Phone While Driving?

If you are caught using your cell phone while operating a motor vehicle, you will be fined $200-$400 for a first offense, $400-$600 for a second offense, and $600-$800 for a third offense. If you are fined for a third offense within the current ten-year period, you will also sustain 3 motor vehicle points against your license and face a 90-day driving suspension.

While these penalties are serious, there is nothing graver than taking someone else’s life. The Kulesh and Kubert’s, and Bolis Law enhances prosecutors’ ability to charge someone who seriously injures or kills another person while using their phone and driving, and civil suits can further these consequences.

Final Thoughts

When you drive, avoid using your mobile phone and falling prey to other distractions. No text message or phone call is worth your life, nor taking the life of someone else.

If you or a loved one are injured or killed by a distracted driver, know that you are not alone.

Our attorneys at Palmisano & Goodman, P.A. can help you get the justice you deserve.

Call us at (732) 709-4400 today and start your case with a free consultation