New Jersey: New 2012 Cell Phone Laws, Legislation for Distracted Drivers!

No Phone While Driving Without Hands Free

When in New Jersey don’t drive and text, stay off the phone when driving without hand free device, pull over at a safe place then text when the vehicle is in park.

Distracted driving update: New Jersey has adopted a law allowing full prosecution of cell phone users if they drive recklessly and cause serious harm or death. Penalties would include prison time and fines up to $150,000, similar to drunken driver punishments.

“If you wouldn’t drink and drive you shouldn’t text and drive,” said Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, who signed the measure July 18.

The legislation A1074 was tagged Kulesh, Kubert and Bolis’ Law, after New Jersey victims of distracted driving accidents. Handheld cell phone users causing serious crashes would be prosecuted under criminal homicide or assault-by-vehicle laws.

The plan sailed through both legislative houses in June 2012. Read more about the New Jersey distracted driving prosecution measure.

The New Jersey Senate has approved a plan that “would give New Jersey the toughest hands-free cell phone law violations in the nation,” its sponsor says. Fines would top out at $600.

The plan, S69 from state Sen. Richard Codey, was approved by the full Senate in a unanimous vote June 25. It would hike fines for electronic distracted driving, with first offense penalties doubling to $200 (detail below).

Current prohibitions:

  • Drivers must use hands-free devices while talking on cell phones. ($100 fine plus costs)
  • Text messaging and use of video games prohibited while driving.
  • School bus operators prohibited from using cell phones while driving.
  • Drivers under the age of 21 with learner’s permits or probationary licenses are prohibited from using cell phones, texting devices and other hand-held or hands-free wireless electronic devices while driving (includes iPods).