Let it go, people.
Your cellphone that is, while driving.
Until now, the state of New Jersey’s law against holding your cellphone to your ear while operating a motor vehicle has been easy to flout. Police, if they were to cite you for it, first had to find another reason to pull you over, such as a busted tail light.
That changes on Saturday, March 1, when text-messaging or using a cellphone without a hands-free device while driving becomes a “primary” offense. Meaning you can be pulled over and cited for that alone.
Rumson Police have been trying to get the word out, using a flashing message sign parked on West River Road.
“I’d hate to stop somebody and hear, ‘Oh, I never heard of this,'” says Sgt. Robert Boyer, who heads up traffic safety for the department.
According to the Washington Times, New Jersey and Washington are the only two states in the union that ban texting while driving. Five states and the District of Columbia have laws prohibiting cell-phone use without hands-free devices by drivers, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Is texting while driving prevalent? Boyer says he hasn’t seen much of it, but notes that it’s an activity “that’s a little harder to see. And it seems like it would be a pretty heavy distraction to a driver.”
There are exceptions to the hands-free requirement, all having to do with emergencies, such as the reporting of crime or accidents. The Borough of Hawthorne in Passaic County has posted the text of the statute on its website.
The law carries a $100 fine but no points.