New Jersey Cracks Down on Distracted Drivers
April is National Distracted Driving Month and police officers in New Jersey are cracking down on distracted drivers. The New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic and Safety reports that New Jersey is one of only four states nationally to receive dedicated federal grant funding to combat distracted driving. Distracted driving is on the rise nationally and in New Jersey, and is particularly dangerous. At the Leonard Legal Group, our dedicated car accident attorneys fight on behalf of those injured in distracted driving accidents, protecting their rights and successfully recovering just compensation for their injuries and other damages.
Distracted driving in the Garden State
Distracted driving is of great concern in the Garden State. According to the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic and Safety, driver inattention was listed as a contributing circumstance in more than half of the state’s car accidents in 2016. Distracted driving is listed as a contributing factor in car accidents at a rate that is nine times higher than speeding, which was listed as the next highest contributing factor. Nationally, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that distracted driving caused 3,166 deaths in 2017 alone.
Distracted driving is a crime
It is a primary offense to text or talk on a hand-held wireless telephone or electronic communication device while driving. The state of New Jersey imposes the following penalties according to whether this is the first, second or third offense:
- First offenders face a fine of between $200 – $400
- Second offenders face a fine of between $400 – $600
- Third (or subsequent) offenders face a fine of between $600 – $800, in addition to having 3 motor vehicle points added to their drivers’ license, and a possible 90-day drivers’ license suspension
Penalties for second, third, and subsequent offenses are only applicable to convictions that occur within the current ten-year period. Text messaging is by far the most alarming distraction because it requires visual, cognitive, and manual attention from the driver.
Circumstances for using a hand-held device while driving
In New Jersey, There are exceptional circumstances under which operators of motor vehicles may use a hand-held wireless telephone or electronic communication device while driving with one hand on the steering wheel. They are as follows:
- Operator of the vehicle has reason to fear for their life or their safety
- Operator believes a criminal act may be perpetrated against them or another person
- Operator is using the device to report an accident, fire, serious road hazard, medical emergency, hazardous material emergency, or a motorist who is driving recklessly or appears to be driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
Secure just compensation for your distracted driving accident by calling our skilled New Jersey accident attorneys
The dedicated car accident attorneys at the Leonard Legal Group fight on behalf of those who have suffered injury or death due to distracted driving. We sue distracted drivers and hold them accountable under the law. If you or a loved one has been injured by a distracted driver, let us help. Contact a member of our team at 973-984-1414 or contact us online to arrange for a confidential consultation to discuss your case.