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When can New Jersey drivers use a cell phone in the car?

Checking a text or making a phone call when you are driving home is tempting. Modern technology can be very distracting. But you need to be aware of the potential consequences.

Not only are phones dangerous to drivers, using one behind the wheel is also against the law. You should know what cell phone behaviors may lead to a ticket—or an accident.

Holding your phone is illegal

New Jersey law is tough on cell phone use while driving. A police officer can pull you over just for having your phone in your hand.

For your first offense, there is a $200–$400 fine. The second time it jumps up to $400–$600. Things get more serious after a third offense. You will receive $600–$800 in fines, three motor vehicle penalty points and possibly a 90-day license suspension.

The fines go up the more texting tickets you get, but a car accident may cost much more. The best way to avoid these consequences is to never touch your phone while driving.

Phone calls are allowed—sometimes

Texting while driving is never allowed, but there are some situations under which the law allows you to hold your phone and make a call. If you believe that you are in danger or if you see an emergency happening, you may call the proper authorities. This could be a:

  • Car crash
  • Fire
  • Hazard on the road
  • Reckless driver
  • Besides these instances, you should never hold your phone while on the road.

Is putting your phone on speaker a good idea?

If your car has a hands-free calling system, it is legal to use it to make a call while driving. But you are still risking an accident if you do so.

Removing the phone from your hand doesn’t make the situation completely safe. The real distraction is in the phone call itself. Your mind can’t fully focus on the road and the conversation at the same time. Your best bet is to save your phone call for later, unless it is an emergency.

To avoid both tickets and accidents, you should focus only on the road. Using your phone while driving isn’t just dangerous for you—you put anyone else in your vehicle and the other drivers on the road at risk as well. You can keep everyone safe by keeping two hands on the wheel and saving that text or call for when you are out of the car.

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