September 27, 2013

New Traffic Laws Become Effective October 1; No Hand-Held Cell Phone Use, Seat Belts for All passengers

Residents are reminded that two new State traffic laws that will affect the general population of drivers will go into effect October 1.

First, a fully licensed driver will not be permitted to use a handheld cell phone while their vehicle is in motion. The new law also authorizes police to enforce these violations as primary traffic offenses, meaning that officers will be able to stop drivers for the sole offense of using a handheld cell phone while behind the wheel.

It is not against the law to attach and use a hands-free device such as a Bluetooth. But, officers encourage drivers to refrain from using a cell phone while driving so they can concentrate fully on their driving responsibilities. Texting while driving is already a primary offense.

The penalty for the first violation is $83, the second violation penalty is $140 and the fine for the third and subsequent offense is $160.

The other new law will require that every vehicle occupant use either a seat belt or child safety restraint. Anyone over the age of 16 riding in either the front or the back seat will be required to use a seat belt. Residents are also reminded that the number of passengers in a vehicle cannot exceed the number of seat belts in that vehicle, and no more than one person can be buckled in a single seat belt.

For more information, see Frequently Asked Questions.

8 comments:

  1. Oh so SB281 is not going into effect also? Way to cover everything happening October 1, things that are not controversial.

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    1. Thank you for inquiring about us not mentioning the Firearms Safety Bill in our piece about upcoming laws that take effect October 1. The focus of this piece was solely on the two new motor vehicle laws and to help remind the drivers of all ages that they were about to take effect. Also, the Firearms Safety Bill has gotten a lot of widespread publicity, whereas there are still those who are, undoubtedly, not aware of the new cell phone and seat belt usage laws.

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  2. Great about people not being allowed to use cell phones hand held while driving!! I am all for that big time!
    I have even seen bus drivers holding a cell phone and conversing while behind the wheel! i hate hearing passengers on the bus shouting into their cell phones as well- most of them are loud and it is very disruptive! It is the law not to play music without headphones so why do they allow people to talk on their cellphones! usually conversations are loud and lengthy! i always thought cell phones were for emergencies!!! At least music is tuneful. people chattering away on their cells is cacophonous and not pleasant to hear!! It is rude, except for brief notifications, not lengthy conversations! BAN THEM!!

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  3. I am new to using my GPS which is in my cell phone. Blue Tooth device is distracting. I turn up the volume on my GPS high for me to hear. Does the law address GPS Users. I am not talking, only listening on my cell. I use the GPS only for areas about 30 miles from my home. Thanks for your suggestions. Is there any information in writing. Any explanations. I am not on social media.

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    1. The new cell phone law does not address the use of a GPS. That is governed under the Text Message law that states, “An individual may not use a text message device to write, send, or read a text message or an electronic message while operating a motor vehicle on the travel portion of the roadway.” There is an exception for the use of “a global positioning system.” Under this law you may bring up GPS information.

      The cell phone law prohibits holding a cell phone. If you are not physically holding the cell phone and only listening to it as it rests on your lap, or somewhere in your vehicle, you would be in compliance with both laws.








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  4. will this apply to the MoCo police as well? Amazed at how many of them I see using their cells....Can't all be "work related"

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    1. The new cell phone law stipulates that it does not apply to public safety and emergency personnel acting “within the scope of their duties.” Because patrol officers spend the majority of their time in their cruisers rather than working from a desk, there are many types of phone calls that can be lawfully made “within the scope of their duties.” All officers have been notified in writing about the specifics of this new law and the fact that personal calls without the use of a hands-free device are prohibited for all drivers including law enforcement and emergency personnel.

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  5. The fine for the first and subsequent offenses are much too lenient. New Jersey has a $300.00 fine for a first offense. Laws such as this one need to have teeth to make them effective.

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