Distracted driving is a problem all over the country, including New Jersey. While texting and driving is the most common example of this dangerous behavior, there are many other bad habits people partake in when behind the wheel. Being aware of these habits, and knowing how to avoid them, is crucial to ensure a safe experience for all motorists who share the road. The New Jersey Department of Law & Public Safety offers the following guidance.
From 2012 to 2016, 800,000 accidents were thought to be linked to distracted driving in New Jersey. This includes a wide range of behaviors that go beyond using a mobile device behind the wheel, although that is still considered a serious issue. Other examples of distracted driving include applying makeup while driving, carrying on a conversation with your passengers, eating or drinking, changing the radio station, adjusting a GPS, or watching a video on a smartphone.
Texting while driving is considered the most serious offense because it takes up so much of a driver’s attention. Texting occupies your hands, eyes, and mind, which means you could easily miss a significant road hazard, which in turn increases the risk you’ll be involved in an accident. The first offense of using a mobile device behind the wheel incurs a fine ranging between $200 and $400. Second offenses range between $400 and $600, while subsequent offenses are $600 to $800. They also include three points assessed to your license and a 90-day suspension of driving privileges in some cases.
There are two notable exceptions to these laws, however. Motorists can use mobile devices to call for help in the event they feel threatened by a situation or another motorist. They can also use their phones to report a dangerous situation on the road, such as a suspected drunk driver. It’s still recommended that drivers attempt to preserve safety when making an emergency call.