This Month’s Focus

Cell Phone Users Beware – New Law for Use of Wireless Devices in a Motor Vehicle Enhances Penalties

Effective July 1, 2014, the New Jersey Legislature modified the law which purports to ban the use of wireless electronic communication devices in motor vehicles.  Obviously, this is a law that is violated everyday by most of the population.  The law does allow for hands-free wireless communication devices.  If you have a hands-free device in your vehicle, the law allows the use of either hand to activate, deactivate, or initiate a function on the telephone.  Thus, one may hold a wireless electronic communication device if it is equipped with a hands-free function for a short period of time while operating the vehicle.  It would seem that the real point of the law would be to reduce the situations where a driver is looking at the screen of their cell phone when they should be looking at the road in front of them.  At any rate, this new law will prompt more stops of vehicles, as it is a primary offense.  These stops will allow law enforcement officials to legitimately make greater inquiry into what is happening inside your vehicle and in your life.  For those drivers who may be involving themselves in things that they should not be involved in, this opportunity to gain access to their private lives may lead to additional offenses.

The penalties for a first offense violation of this statute include a fine of not less than $200.00 nor more than $400.00.  (This is the typical cost of the phone itself.)  For a second offense, the fines are not less than $400.00 nor more than $600.00 and for a third or any subsequent offense, the fines are not less than $600.00 or more than $800.00.  Furthermore, for a third or subsequent offense, the Courts have the discretion to forfeit the defendant’s right to operate a motor vehicle for a period of 90 days and that individual shall be assessed three (3) motor vehicle points.

The push of a button allows most hands-free electronic communication devices will allow voice dialing. Voice dialing allows the user to activate the voice dialing prompt and then speak the name of the contact and the phone will automatically dial that contact.  Using this function will allow greater focus on the road and will allow you to keep your privacy and your money.