The use of a hand-held cell phone while driving a car is unlawful in New Jersey. Although it is generally discouraged, drivers may use a hands-free devise if it does not interfere with standard safety equipment. According to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 25 percent of all police-reported motor vehicle accidents are due to distracted driving, including driving while talking on a cell phone or texting.
The penalty for violating the hand-held cell phone ban is a $100 fine. In addition, to the hand-held cell phone restrictions, drivers cannot text or play video games while driving. The rules for school bus drivers and drivers under the age of 21 or probationary licenses are stricter and prohibit all cell phone use while driving.
New Jersey State Police say that cell phone related accidents between 2006 and 2009 accounted for 24 deaths and 3,076 injuries. The only time a hand-held phone may be used is in emergency situations.
Safe Cell Phone Practices:
- Turn the ringer off on your cell phone, so that you are not tempted to answer it while you are driving.
- Keep your phone in a secure location that is easy to reach in the case of an emergency.
- Make sure you have all your emergency contacts programmed into your phone.
- Never dial a phone number on your cell phone while driving. Program commands through your hands-free devise or dial the number before you start driving.
The time following a motor vehicle accident can be extremely stressful and you may not know all your rights. If you have been injured in a car accident and you believe the other driver’s cell phone use may have been the cause of the accident, contact an accident attorney. An experienced personal injury attorney can make sure that your rights are protected and you get back on your feet as quickly as possible.