New Cellphone Laws Coming to NJ | December 2012

December 19, 2012 · by rosenblumlawfirm · in

New Jersey cell phone and driving lawDid you know that the number of deaths due to distracted driving have now surpassed deaths due to speeding?  In 2011 almost half of all traffic fatalities in New Jersey were linked to some type of driver distraction.  See New Jersey’s Fatal Motor Vehicle Crash Report here.  So it should come as no surprise that New Jersey lawmakers are pushing for tougher laws and penalties for distracted driving on the road.

Make no mistake that driving while using a cell phone or any other electronic device is a serious danger on the road.  Studies have shown that reaction time is significantly impaired when using a cell phone while driving almost to the extent of driving while intoxicated.  With this in mind, it’s only a matter of time until lawmakers start treating cell phone use to the level of a DWI in New Jersey.

What Is the Change In New Jersey Cell Phone Law?

In 2008 New Jersey made it illegal to operate a vehicle while using a cell phone.  At first you were only ticketed for using a cell phone as a secondary offense, meaning that the police needed to ticket you for speeding or another moving violation first (primary offense) to also tag you with a cell phone ticket.  However the law changed so that cell phone use is now a primary offense and police can issue you a ticket for using a cell phone while driving alone.  A cell phone ticket carries a $100 fine along with New Jersey’s $250 surcharge.

Recently, the New Jersey Senate has approved a plan to give New Jersey the toughest hands-free cell phone law in the nation.  Cell phone fines would double for the first offense to $200.  A second offense within 10 years would be $400 and a third and subsequent offense within 10 years would be $600 plus a possible 90-day license suspension, and 3 points will be assessed against the driver.

What Happens If I Was Involved In An Accident or Someone Was Injured While Using A Cell Phone?

New Jersey also has adopted a law allowing for the full prosecution of cell phone users that were involved in an accident causing serious harm or death.  Previously the law stated that if there was evidence that someone was driving recklessly when a serious or fatal accident occurred, that that person can be found guilty of assault or death by auto.

The new law specifically addresses cell phone use during a fatal accident and there is a presumed assumption that the driver was reckless.  This means that it makes it much easier for prosecutors to obtain a conviction.  A conviction will carry penalties that include jail time and up to $150,000 in fines.  The law is called the Kulesh, Kubert and Bolis law, named after victims of distracted driving accidents in New Jersey.

Who Should I Contact For Help?

If you have received a cell phone ticket or been involved in an accident that involved a distracted driver, contact The Rosenblum Law Firm law firm today.  Adam Rosenblum is a licensed attorney in New York and New Jersey and offers free consultations to help you with your matter.  Call 888-883-5529.