New Jersey law prohibits the use of handheld devices while driving, whether it be for a phone call, texting or e-mailing. These activities distract drivers and create a danger not only to the driver himself but also to other motorists and pedestrians. Distracted driving in any form can be dangerous, however texting in particular requires visual, manual and cognitive attention, which makes it by far the most dangerous form of distracted driving. Bluetooth, speaker phone, headset and abstaining from using a cell phone while driving are all ways to be a safer, smarter driver.
New Jersey’s cellphone and texting laws are considered “primary” laws which means that an officer can pull you over for the offense without having to witness any other violation. The penalties for texting and driving in the first offense include a fine of $200-$400. The second offense fine increases to $400-$600. The third (or subsequent) offense includes a fine of $600-$800, three motor vehicle points on your license and a possible 90-day license suspension. These fines do not include any court costs that may be incurred.
If an Accident Occurs:
If a pedestrian or another driver or passenger is injured or killed because of a distracted driver using a handheld cell phone, that driver could be charged with an indictable crime or felony. In the case of an injury, depending on the severity, you could face between 6-18 months in jail and up to a $10,000 fine. If there is a death, the driver could be charged with vehicular homicide, which involves between 5-10 years in jail and up to a $150,000 fine.
In addition to criminal penalties, a distracted driver who causes injury to another can be held liable in Civil court for the damage caused. This liability can include cost of medical treatment, pain and suffering, cost of future lost wages for the injured party, and much more.
If you or a loved one is involved in an accident due to another driver’s use of a handheld device, you may be entitled to compensation. It is important that you understand your rights and secure the representation you deserve. Call the personal injury lawyers at Hyberg, White & Mann at 609-407-1000. Click HERE to learn more about distracted driving.
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