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Understanding distracted driving laws in New Jersey

Even if you take as much safety precautions as possible while walking down the street or driving down the highway, all it takes is one driver’s mistake to put you in a potentially fatal accident. Despite the laws in place, distracted driving contributes to thousands of crashes in the state.

Regardless, it is important to know what these laws are if someone crashes into you while distracted. This knowledge can help you find them liable in court and get you the compensation that you deserve.

All phone use is banned

New Jersey is one of the few states that has a statewide ban on driver phone usage. Since this is a primary enforcement, police can pull over and ticket anyone caught talking or texting while driving.

New Jersey’s distracted driving fines cost significantly more than other states. Without including court costs, the first offense costs $200 to $400. If the driver commits more offenses within a ten-year period, the second offense will cost $400 to $600 and the third and subsequent offenses will cost $600 to $800 along with three motor vehicle points and a possible 90-day license suspension.

Drivers may only use their phones behind the wheel if they find themselves in an emergency situation. This includes witnessing criminal activity and reporting any potential road hazards or dangerous motorists to authorities.

Cell phones aren’t the only problem

While texting or talking on the phone is the most frequent cause for distracted driving, the Department of Law and Public Safety warns drivers that there are several forms of distraction. Some of these include:

  • Eating or drinking
  • Putting on make-up
  • Adjusting the radio
  • Talking to a passenger
  • Checking the map

There is currently no law banning any of these activities while driving. However, officials considered a law prohibiting eating and drinking while driving at one point.

The takeaway

New Jersey has some of the harshest laws towards distracted driving in the U.S., so someone crashing into you while checking their cell phone is inexcusable. Even if that person doesn’t appear to have a cell phone nearby, check to see if there is anything else in their car that could have kept their eyes off the road such as a drink or comb.

If you are a victim of a distracted driver crash, ensure that your financial needs from the accident get reimbursed by exploring your legal options. You do not deserve to pay for another driver’s mistake, especially if that mistake is a well-known, illegal behavior.