Could a driver get a distracted driving ticket in New Jersey?

Distracted drivers traveling on the New Jersey Turnpike could cause a disastrous crash. Drivers more concerned with their smartphones or a podcast might also bring dangers to Garden State residential areas. One way that New Jersey authorities hope to diminish distracted driving accident statistics involves issuing citations.

Texting, driving, and receiving a traffic ticket

New Jersey law establishes a law enforcement officer’s ability to write a ticket for the unsafe use of a wireless or electronic communications device by a motor vehicle’s operator. Therefore, someone who texts and drives or conducts a phone conversation while driving could receive a traffic ticket if the device is in the driver’s hands. Tickets issued for hands-free communication may or may not be valid, depending on various factors, which include the ambiguous requirement to exercise a “high degree of caution.”

Carrying on a conversation with a passenger may not lead to a distracted driving ticket or a traffic violation, but that doesn’t mean that the behavior decreases the chances of a collision. Even momentarily taking attention and eyes off the road could lead to a crash.

Distracted driving behavior

The laws in New Jersey regarding distracted driving determine whether traffic violations occur. For example, New Jersey law makes it legal to use an electronic device, such as a smartphone, when driving if the driver fears for his life, reports a fire or auto accident, addresses a medical emergency or experiences another incident requiring a call to the appropriate authorities.

People charged with a distracted driving violation may need to prove an emergency existed. If they do so, a citation might be dismissed. However, drivers might still find it wise to avoid distracting behaviors.

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