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NJ Cell Phone Use When Driving Prohibited, Can Lead to Jail Time

Under current New Jersey law, drivers are not allowed to use their cell phones while driving without a head set. Doing so is a primary offense, for which you can be pulled over. N.J. Stat. Section 39:4-97.3 provides in part: 

"The use of a wireless telephone or electronic communication device by an operator of a moving motor vehicle on a public road or highway shall be unlawful except when the telephone is a hands-free wireless telephone or the electronic communication device is used hands-free, provided that its placement does not interfere with the operation of federally required safety equipment and the operator exercises a high degree of caution in the operation of the motor vehicle. For the purposes of this section, an "electronic communication device" shall not include an amateur radio."

Under the statute, "use" of a cell phone means to talk, listen, text, or otherwise send an electronic message (i.e., email). 

The 2007 Amendment to NJ's Ban on Cell Phone Use When Driving

Under a prior version of the law, using a cell phone when driving was a secondary offense, meaning that a police officer could not pull you over for a cell phone use violation without a violation of a traffic offense. In other words you must have been first seen violating a traffic law. With the 2007 amendment (effective in March 2008), texting and driving or using a cell phone while driving in New Jersey allowed you to be pulled over immediately. 

The 2012 Amendment - Criminal Liability for Cell Phone Use When Driving

In 2012, the cell phone and driving law was amended. Known as “Kulesh, Kuberts, and Bolis Law,” it established that use of a cell phone when driving is "recklessness" under New Jersey's vehicular homicide and assault by auto criminal statues. In other words, the amendment established that illegal use of a cell phone constitutes "recklessness" under the vehicular homicide (N.J.S.A.2C:11-5) and assault by auto (N.J.S.A.2C:12-1) statutes.
This means that if you're using a cell phone and cause a car accident which kills someone, you could be convicted of vehicular homicide. If your cell phone use causes an accident that seriously injures someone, you could be convicted of assault by auto. 

NJ Car Accident Lawyers - Free Consultations 877.944.8396

If you or someone you love was seriously hurt in a car, truck or bus accident, because another driver was using their cell phone or texting, talk to a car accident lawyer in New Jersey to discuss your legal rights. 

**DISCLAIMER: This website does not provide any legal advice or create any attorney-client relationship. Each case is unique and requires review by a qualified attorney. Discussion of prior outcomes or results is no guarantee of the same or similar outcomes in current or future cases.

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