New Jersey frowns upon use of cell phones while driving. That would include, of course, texting while driving. The specific statute that deals with cell phones while driving is N.J.S. 39:4-97.3.
The New Jersey statute never actually uses the term “cell phone.” Rather, it specifies use of a “wireless telephone or electronic communication device”. Citizens band radios are exempt, as are use of two-way radios in commercial vehicles or authorized emergency vehicles. New Jersey drivers are subject to the cell phone statute only when the vehicle is moving, and only when it is on a public road or highway. Hands-free devices are exempt.
Under some circumstances, New Jersey permits cell phone use, even when the device is not hands free, and even when the vehicle is moving, and even when the vehicle is on a public road or highway. The circumstances include the following:
- The driver is using the cell phone because s/he has reason to fear for his or her life or safety;
- The driver is using the cell phone because s/he believes that a criminal act may be perpetrated against him- or herself, or someone else;
- The driver is using the cell phone to report a fire, traffic accident, serious road hazard, or medical emergency;
- The driver is using the cell phone to report someone driving in a reckless, careless, or otherwise unsafe manner;
- The driver is using the cell phone to report another driver who appears to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Persons convicted of violating the New Jersey cell phone law are fined $100.00. No points are assessed. Conviction of using a cell phone while driving will seldom cause loss of driving privileges. Nonetheless, under some circumstances, New Jersey driving privileges can be lost for that conviction, depending on what other convictions are on the driver's record.
Lawyers in the Law Offices of Allan Marain defend persons charged with traffic offenses. That would include use of a cell phone while driving.