Key Highway Safety Laws in New Jersey

The New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety constantly stays updated with the newest key highway safety laws in New Jersey. They offer many services to people living within the state and information available on what goes and what doesn’t as far as highway safety is concerned. For the month of September 2015, there are specific things to keep in mind dealing with Aggressive Driving, Cell Phones and Texting, and Drunk Driving.

Aggressive Driving
The statutes in New Jersey associated with aggressive driving are 39:4-97 (Careless Driving) and 39-4-97.2 (Operating a vehicle in an Unsafe Manner). Aggressive Driving in New Jersey typically happens because there is tension among motorists, seeing as New Jersey is one of the most densely populated states in the country. But what makes a driver an aggressive one? Characteristics include speeding, excessive lane changing, tailgating, and gesturing at other drivers.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that one-third of all crashes and two-thirds of all fatal crashes are speed-related, making it one of the most common aggressive driving habits associated with traffic crashes. In 2008 alone, there were 22,118 crashes relates to unsafe speeds in New Jersey State. The Division of Highway Traffic Safety commits themselves to education and enforcement programs to reduce threats posed by aggressive driving in the state.

Cell Phones and Texting
There is a cell phone law in New Jersey under a state statute of 39:4-97.3 NJ Cell Phone Law. It states that, use of a wireless telephone, electronic communication device in moving vehicle, is unlawful. More specifically, “The use of a wireless telephone or electronic communication device by an operator of a moving motor vehicle on a public road or highway shall be unlawful except when the telephone is a hand-free wireless telephone or the electronic communication device is used hands-free, provided that its placement does not interfere with the operation of federally required safety equipment and the operator exercises a high degree of caution in the operation of the motor vehicle.”

The truth of the matter is that distracted driving kills, and using a cell phone while driving is a distraction. Inattention while driving has contributed to over 750,000 crashes in New Jersey since 2009, so it is safe to say it is a serious and growing problem. Use of a hand-held wireless telephone includes (but isn’t limited to) talking or listening to another person, or text messaging or sending an electronic message. There are only two cases in which it is legal to use a handheld telephone, which includes the following scenarios:

  • The phone operator believes that his or her life is in danger or believes that a criminal act is being perpetrated against them or another person.
  • They are using the device to report to appropriate authorities in a situation involving a fire, traffic crash, serious road hazard, or to report another motorist who is driving in a reckless manner or may be driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Drunk Driving
New Jersey also has very strict laws on drunk driving, which contributes to many crashes a year and is a risk to both the drunk driver and passengers of other vehicles sharing the roadways. If you happen to be under 21 and you buy or drink alcohol in a place with a license, you may end up being fined $500 and losing your driver’s license for six months. If you don’t have a license, then that suspension will start when you are eligible to receive your license. If you are caught driving with a suspended license to due to a DWI, then here is what can happen:

  • A fine of $500
  • 10 to 90 days imprisonment
  • 1 to 2 years additional license suspension
  • Revocation of motor vehicle registration

New Jersey Law (P.L. 2003, CHAPTER 314), states that, if an offender’s BAC is 0.08 percent or higher, but less than 0.10 percent, or if an offender permits another person with a BAC over 0.08 percent, but less than 0.10 percent to operate a motor vehicle, they may be susceptible to further penalties.

The new September 2015 New Jersey laws state that, as far as drunk driving is concerned, ignition interlocks are now mandatory for those who have a BAC of over .15 and those with repeat convictions.

Follow the Laws – Stay Safe.
It is important to keep these laws and reformed laws in mind when living in New Jersey or any other place in the country. Aggressive Driving, distracted driving, and drunk driving can all contribute to accidents and cause unwanted grief to your life. The penalties and emotions that can come to accidents will follow you throughout your life if you don’t take special precautions to avoid them from happening. Follow the New Jersey laws and stay safe. Contact MDL, located in New Jersey, for more information if you believe you have a case stemming from an accident. You may be entitled to compensation.