On July 1, 2014 an amendment to N.J.S.A. 39:4-97.3 went into effect which increased the fines and penalties for talking or texting on a hand-held wireless telephone while driving. Previously, a person who was convicted of violating this law would be fined $100 and not have any points assessed on their license regardless of how many times a person was convicted of the offense.
Now that the amendment to the law is in place, the penalty for a first offense for using a cell phone while driving is a fine of between $200 and $400.
The penalty for a second offense will now be a fine of between $400 and $600.
The penalty for a third or subsequent offense will now be a fine of between $600 and $800 and a three (3) point assessment on the driver’s MVC record. Additionally, a judge may also suspend a person’s driver’s license for ninety (90) days if they are convicted of a third or subsequent offense.
While these are significant increases in the penalties, there is good reason for the State to try and prevent distracted driving. In 2012, a total of 421,000 people were injured in motor vehicle accidents involving a distracted driver. Additionally, it has been found that engaging in visual-manual tasks (such as reaching for a phone, dialing and texting) associated with the use of cell phones increased the risk of getting into a crash by three times.
So please make sure that you refrain from using your cell phone while driving because you will not only be putting yourself and others at risk, but you are now also facing increased fines and penalties if you are found to be doing it.