The state of New Jersey is known for its tough distracted driving laws and for good reason: distracted drivers were responsible for almost 800,000 crashes between the years of 2012 to 2016. That’s an average of 200,000 crashes a year, or 500 crashes a day. In response, the state has created a distracted driver law that severely punishes anyone caught using a phone or engaging in distracted activity behind the wheel. While the main target of the distracted driver statute are cell phone users, people can and have been cited for other activities that caused them to not pay attention to their car and surroundings. Here’s a look at the New Jersey Distracted Driver law and how it affects you.
Distracted Driving is More Than Cell Phone Use
The New Jersey Distracted Driver law has a primary focus on cell phone use because it’s the primary contributing factor regarding distracted driving crashes. The law specifically prohibits all handheld cellphone use while driving unless the user is calling the authorities to report an incident. However, there are other things motorists do that also cause crashes. They include:
- Talking to passengers
- Grooming (putting on makeup or brushing hair)
- Watching a video
- Adjusting a radio or other input device
- Drinking and eating
It seems a little unfair that the law qualifies doing seemingly benign actions such as eating, drinking, adjusting a radio, or talking to passengers as distracted driving. However, they’re included because people have been involved in serious crashes with these activities as a cause. It’s one thing to talk to your passengers, quite another to be so engaged in the conversation that you stop paying attention to the road in front of you. While you are far less likely to be cited for these actions, it is still a valid citation under the Distracted Driver statute.
How Much Will a Ticket Cost You?
Getting a ticket for distracted driving in New Jersey is expensive. It can also cause you to lose points on your license and suspension of driving privileges if you’re a repeat offender. The fines for distracted driving are as follows:
- $200 to $400 for a first offense
- $400 to $600 for a second offense
- $600 to $800 for a third offense
If you have a third offense or more, the court has the option to suspend your driver’s license for 90 days. You also lose three penalty points from your license. And a conviction for distracted driving stays on your license for 10 years. That is, if you receive two convictions for distracted driving in ten years time, the second offense will be counted against you. If you get a second conviction and it’s past 10 years since your first, the second will be counted as your first.
Hit by a Distracted Driver? Here’s What You Should Do
In the event a distracted driver is involved in a collision with another car or pedestrian, they are liable for the injuries they cause. At DeZao Law, we specialize in handling cases related to distracted driver accidents. You should contact us as soon as possible after a crash with a distracted driver to learn about how we can help you recover damages and enforce your rights against someone who willfully broke the law. To learn more, give us a call at (855) 432-2489.