The Division of Highway and Traffic Safety in New Jersey stresses the dangers of distracted driving. The state has enacted laws to prevent distracted driving accidents.
Review the prohibited actions and the penalties for smartphone use behind the wheel for motorists in the Garden State.
Distracted driving laws
Using a smartphone or cellphone behind the wheel is a primary offense in New Jersey. That means law enforcement can pull over a driver for sending any type of electronic message or talking on any handheld device even when he or she did not commit another traffic offense.
The state has established some exceptions. Drivers can make a phone call with one hand on the steering wheel and one hand on the device only when:
- Reporting a crime
- In life-threatening danger
- Reporting an emergency situation such as an impaired or reckless driver, hazmat or medical situation, road hazard, motor vehicle collision or fire
Penalties for smartphone use
Drivers can receive a penalty of $200 to $400 for the first distracted driving ticket. The second offense within 10 years carries fines of $400 to $600. For each subsequent offense in the same 10-year period, drivers will receive:
- Possible 90-day driver’s license suspension
- Three driver’s license points
- $600 to $800 in fines
While smartphones are not the only driving distractions, the DHTS stresses that device use is the most dangerous distraction. The agency also recommends against talking to passengers, eating, drinking, grooming, and reading maps and other material while operating a motor vehicle.