NJ to Enact More Severe Punishments for violating Hands-Free Cell Phone Law

by sequoialegal on May 2, 2013

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In 2004, New Jersey was the second state in the nation to enact a  “hands-free” cell phone law, requiring drivers in NJ to use a hands free device when speaking on a cell phone. Drivers who violate this rule can be fined $100 but will see no points. Just last month, New Jersey voted to increase the fines and penalties for drivers who violate the “hands free” cellphone law. This new law would increase fines and penalties for first time and repeat offenders;

  • First time offenders would be subject to a minimum fine of $200.00 and a maximum fine of $400.00.
  • Second time offenders would face a fine between $400.00 and $600.00.
  • Third and subsequent offenders would be subject to a fine between $600.00 and $800.00.   Third and subsequent offenses would receive three points on their driver’s license and the violator could face up to a 90-day license suspension. [1]

New Jersey’s initial ban on talking and driving was only enforceable as a secondary offense; meaning that a motorist can only be cited for the offense if he has been stopped by a police officer for another moving violation.  In March 2008, New Jersey modified the hands-free law, making it a primary offense to talk without a hands-free device. The revised law also banned texting while driving. [2] Currently, anyone under the age of 21 is prohibited from using a cell phone for talking or texting , even with a hands free device.

40% of all American teens say they have been in a car when the driver used a cell phone in a way that put people in danger [3], While 18 percent of drivers older than 18 said they had sent a text message or e-mail while driving. [4]


[1] http://www.randolphwolf.com/blog/potential-stiffer-fines-and-penalties-for-violating-the-hands-free-cell-phone-law/
[2] http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2008/02/cell_phone_law_taking_effect_f.html
[3] http://www.distraction.gov/research/PDF-Files/PIP_Teens_and_Distracted_Driving.pdf
[4] http://www.iihs.org/research/qanda/cellphones.aspx#cite-text-0-5

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