You may think glancing at your cell phone for a few seconds to answer a text message is innocuous, but you could be putting yourself and the other drivers on the road at risk of a potential fatal crash. Plus, if caught texting and driving, you may be breaking the law: there are currently texting bans in 48 states (plus D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands).

In this short but sweet guide, we’ll cover the texting and driving laws for New Jersey, the distracted driving violation penalties you may face if you’re caught texting and driving in this state, plus some tips to help you quit your texting and driving habit for good. Check it out.

Texting and Driving Laws New Jersey

In the Garden State, driver distraction was a major contributing factor in nearly 800,000 crashes from 2012–2016.

Distracted driving is defined as any activity that takes the driver’s attention away from what should be their primary focus: driving the motor vehicle.

In New Jersey, distracted driving activities include:

  • Texting

  • Using a handheld held cell phone

  • Eating and drinking

  • Talking to other passengers

  • Personal grooming

  • Reading (i.e. maps)

  • Using a navigation system

  • Watching a video

  • Adjusting music

While all of the above activities contribute to driver inattention, texting is considered to be the “most alarming” driver distraction.

If a driver is caught texting and driving in New Jersey, they’ll face the following consequences:

  • A fine of up to $400 for a first offense

  • A fine of up to $600 for a second offense

  • A fine of up to $800 for a third and subsequent offenses

  • Three or more offenses means the driver could lose driving privileges for 90 days and receive up to three license points

  • If an individual is in a distracted driving accident and someone is seriously injured or killed, they could face prison time and fines up to $150,000

From $400 to prison time, the penalties for texting and driving in New Jersey are nothing to scoff at. Even adding three points to a driver’s license can take a serious toll—in New Jersey, drivers can reduce their point total by two points once every five years, only after they complete an approved defensive driving course.

The best way to avoid breaking texting and driving laws in New Jersey is to teach yourself how to put your phone down the moment you turn on the ignition.

How to Stop Texting and Driving

In New Jersey, all drivers—including those with a learner’s permit and intermediate license holders—are banned from using hand-held devices while driving.

If you’re a New Jersey driver, it’s in your best interest to keep your phone at bay when behind the wheel. Some tips to avoid texting and driving situations include:

  • Put your phone out of sight, out of mind. The farther away and harder to reach (like the glove compartment or back seat) the better.

  • Pull over in a secure area if you need to make a call or send a text.

  • Sit down with your family and friends and make a pledge to never talk or text while driving.

  • If you are a passenger, speak up when you see the driver texting.

  • Parents: remind new drivers what the statistics are of a car accident caused by texting and driving and have your teen sign a contract that they will never participate in distracted driving.

While new technology has made a hands free device nearly ubiquitous, that doesn’t mean that drivers have given up texting and driving.

In fact, according to national observation surveys, the number of drivers texting at any moment during the day has risen since 2009, especially among younger drivers. That’s why it is so important to be aware of the current texting and driving laws in place, as well as the dangers of distracted driving.

Drive Safer with Auto Insurance

While New Jersey’s texting and driving laws are not the strictest in the country, they are still pretty stringent when compared to other states.

Drivers who are caught texting while driving in New Jersey face anywhere from a $400 fine up to an $800 fine (and points added to their license) depending on how many offenses they have.

The best way to avoid a cell phone ticket, accidents, license suspension, and potential jail time is to simply put the phone down when you get in the car. Plus, the better your driving record is, the better auto insurance rates you can secure.

Looking for New Jersey car insurance rates or car insurance for new drivers? Check out the Online Auto Insurance comparison tools where you can easily compare competitors’ quotes and plans to find the best coverage for you.

With OAI, you can find your state’s minimum insurance coverage requirements and explore the cheapest car insurance in New Jersey so you can drive better and breathe easier.

Sources:

DSS Law. Texting While Driving Accidents in New Jersey. \ https://www.dsslaw.com/car-accident-attorney/types-of-accidents/texting-while-driving/#:\~:text=Drivers%20who%20use%20a%20hand,and%20receive%20three%20license%20points.

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Distracted Driving. \ https://www.iihs.org/topics/distracted-driving#:\~:text=Texting%20is%20banned%20for%20all,and%20the%20District%20of%20Columbia

National Conference for State Legislatures. Distracted Driving | Cell Phone Use.\ https://www.ncsl.org/research/transportation/cellular-phone-use-and-texting-while-driving-laws.aspx#:\~:text=Text%20messaging%20ban%3A%2048%20states,text%20messaging%20for%20all%20drivers.

The State of New Jersey Dept. of Law and Public Safety. Distracted Driving Overview.\ https://www.nj.gov/oag/hts/phone_down_overview.html

Traffic Tickets.com. Study: States with the Strictest Texting While Driving Laws.\ https://traffictickets.com/data/study-states-with-the-strictest-texting-while-driving-laws/

University of Missouri Health Care. Tips to Prevent Distracted Driving. \ https://www.muhealth.org/our-stories/tips-prevent-distracted-driving