For the next three weeks, drivers in New Jersey had best stay focused on the road. Starting Monday, April 1, all 207 of New Jersey police departments will be sending out additional patrols to crack down on texting while driving and other traffic infractions. The three-week “U Text. U Drive. U Pay.” campaign runs through Sunday, April 21.
Under N.J.S.A. 39:4-97.3, any use of an electronic device while driving, including a cell phone, can result in a ticket unless the device is in “hands-free” mode. The device also cannot be placed in a location that interferes with the operation of the vehicle. A ticket for “distracted driving” in NJ can cost between $200 and $400 for a first offense, $400 and $600 for a second offense, and $600 to $800 for a third or subsequent offense. Drivers can also face a license suspension following a third ticket.
According to NJ.com, driver inattention contributed to more than half of the crashes in New Jersey in 2016. It was also a contributing factor in more than 740,000 crashes from 2012-2016. Cell phones and electronics aren’t the only things that NJ considers a “distraction.” The state also classifies activities such as eating and drinking, talking to passengers, putting on makeup, reading (including maps), and using a GPS system as forms of distracted driving. However, they are not ticketable offenses under the current distracted driving law. Rather, a driver could be ticketed for careless driving or unsafe driving if done in such a way that the officer deems the driver to be putting him/herself or others at risk.
During the 2018 enforcement campaign, police throughout New Jersey issued 13,146 tickets for cell phone use or texting. In addition, drivers received 5,697 tickets for careless driving, 6,538 speeding tickets, and 5,712 seat belt citations during the enforcement period.
If you or someone you love has been ticketed for a cell phone, texting, or other traffic violation during New Jersey’s “U Text. U Drive. U Pay.” initiative, contact an attorney for help. The lawyers of the Rosenblum Law Firm are skilled traffic ticket attorneys with offices in New York and New Jersey. Email the Rosenblum Law Firm or call 888-815-3649 today for a free consultation about your case.