Thousands of drivers across New Jersey are getting letters from the state police about their distracted driving. It's a real wake-up notice, and it should be taken seriously. The state is cracking down on this serious problem and for a good reason.
Distracted driving is cited as a cause in hundreds of thousands of accidents every year. If you have received this letter, or have been issued a ticket for distracted driving, the most important thing you can do is keep your eyes on the road - put it down and just drive. But if you have been issued a ticket, you need an experienced attorney to help you put your mind at ease and get this behind you first.
The state police started a new program in 2017 aimed at cutting down the high rates of distracted driving on New Jersey roads. The dangerous driving hotline, found by dialing #77, can be used to report any impaired, distracted, or reckless driving on the road. They will ask for as much information as you can give, including license number and type of car.
Of course, don't call to report a distracted driver while you are driving!
The state police will send out a letter to anyone reported through this hotline informing them that their bad driving has been noticed and that they should cut it out. If you have received such a letter, it means that someone saw you not paying attention to the road. You should take it very seriously.
As part of the general crackdown, the penalties for distracted driving have been increased in New Jersey. They are:
- On your first offense, a fine of $200 to $400
- On your second offense: a fine of $400 to $600
- On your third offense: affine of $600 to $800 fine plus a license suspension of ninety days plus three points on your record
Notice that for every offense, there is a range of penalties. If you received a letter, you have not been issued a citation yet. But that can and will be used against you if you are pulled over for a distracted driving citation later, and a steeper fine likely imposed.
Been issued a ticket?
If you have already been issued a ticket for distracted driving, it's important that you fight it. You'll need an attorney experienced in traffic violations. You don't want to have this on your record, as it will mean that any future incidents on the road will be looked at more closely for further violations.
New Jersey is serious about cracking down on distracted driving, so you need to be as well. The most important thing is to put it down and just drive, as the billboards say. But if you have been cited, it's good to get this behind you and change your ways without a stain on your record, if possible.
If you've been issued the warning letter, however, take it seriously. They are watching for you!