Use of your cell phone while driving, whether texting, emailing, or calling, can put you and others on the streets at risk. The first offense under New Jersey law of talking or texting while driving has a minimum fine of $200.00, the second offense a minimum fine of $400.00, and the third offense a minimum fine of $600.00, as well as potentially a ninety day driver’s license suspension, and three motor vehicle points. Using your phone and driving and severely injuring someone could result in six to eighteen months of jail time and a $10,000.00 fine. If the victim is killed, you might face five to ten years in jail and up to $150,000.00 in fines.

You may not know that an accident victim may also have the option to sue not only the texter, but also the person texting the driver.

The New Jersey Appellate Division held in 2013 that the sender of the text message can also be liable if the plaintiff can show that the sender “knew or had special reason to know that the recipient would view the text while driving and thus be distracted”. The court established a balancing test to analyze the relationship between the sender and recipient of the text, the nature of the possible risk, the opportunity and ability to exercise care, and the public interest in the solution.

Further, the New Jersey Appellate Division upheld the conviction of a motorist who was cited for texting while driving after he merely tapped the password into his cell phone and opened the Google Maps app to get directions.

Although it is discouraged, drivers may use a hands-free device if it does not interfere with standard safety equipment.

In sum, New Jersey has a strong public policy against use of cell phones while driving and drivers should avoid undue risks. We routinely seek cell phone records of defendants in personal injury cases to see if the defendant was on the phone at the time of an accident and with whom. Mr. Whelan has decades of experience in accident cases. Call today for a free consultation.

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Charles D. Whelan III has been committed to excellence for over 30 years. With offices located centrally in New Jersey, he is able to provide businesses and individuals with excellent legal services.

Watchung Office

475 Watchung Ave, Ste 8, Watchung NJ 07069

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