CBS news recently reported that New Jersey will be implementing a sting operation focusing on distracted driving violations. Those texting while driving are clearly “not getting the message,” states Cpl. Dennis Kardos from the North Plainfield Police Department in New Jersey. Chief William Parenti elaborates, stating that 30 to 35 percent of accidents in the area are connected to instances of distracted driving.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, in 2011 over 3,300 victims were killed in distracted driving related accidents and 387,000 were Injured throughout the U.S.
Distracted driving is illegal throughout the country, and many states have enacted laws focusing on the use of electronic devices. In New Jersey, it is illegal to use handheld devices for texting or talking while driving. It is also illegal to use these devices for navigation services or internet use.
Penalties Associated with Distracted Driving in New Jersey
Those pulled over in violation of New Jersey’s distracted driving law will likely receive a Ticket. This ticket is often accompanied with a fine, which can range from $100 to $250 for the first offense.
In addition to potentially receiving a ticket, those who engage in distractive practices while driving are at an increased risk for involvement in an accident. In 2012, legislation was passed that makes it easier to criminally prosecute those guilty of distracted driving accidents that result in vehicular homicide charges. This law allows proof of a driver using a cell phone to entail the presumption that the driver was engaged in reckless driving.
Vehicular homicide is often a second degree crime. As a result, penalties can be severe and can include imprisonment of five to ten years and a monetary fine up to $150,000. Drivers may also be charged with vehicular assault under this law. This charge may be issued if serious bodily injury results from a distracted driving accident. These assault crimes can lead to 18 months imprisonment and a monetary fine of up to $10,000.
Use of a cell phone is not the only way a driver may become distracted. Other activities that can distract a driver include applying makeup, talking to other passengers, eating, and drinking. Drivers who cause an accident while distracted may be liable to victims, including potentially being held responsible medical and rehabilitative costs.
Pursuing a claim against a distracted driver can be difficult. If you or a loved one is injured in a distracted driving accident, contact an experienced New Jersey personal injury lawyer to better ensure your legal rights and remedies are protected.
This content was written on behalf of Greg Prosmushkin.