1. a. 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 hands-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. For the purposes of this section, an “electronic communication device” shall not include
an amateur radio.
Nothing in P.L.2003, c.310 (C.39:4-97.3 et seq.) shall apply to the use of a citizen’s band radio
or two-way radio by an operator of a moving commercial motor vehicle or authorized emergency
vehicle on a public road or highway.
b. The operator of a motor vehicle may use a hand-held wireless telephone while driving
with one hand on the steering wheel only if:
(1) The operator has reason to fear for his life or safety, or believes that a criminal act may
be perpetrated against himself or another person; or
(2) The operator is using the telephone to report to appropriate authorities a fire, a traffic
accident, a serious road hazard or medical or hazardous materials emergency, or to report the
operator of another motor vehicle who is driving in a reckless, careless or otherwise unsafe
manner or who appears to be driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. A hand-held
wireless telephone user’s telephone records or the testimony or written statements from
appropriate authorities receiving such calls shall be deemed sufficient evidence of the existence
of all lawful calls made under this paragraph.
As used in this act:
“Citizen’s band radio” means a mobile communication device designed to allow for the
transmission and receipt of radio communications on frequencies allocated for citizen’s band
radio service use.
“Hands-free wireless telephone” means a mobile telephone that has an internal feature or
function, or that is equipped with an attachment or addition, whether or not permanently part
of such mobile telephone, by which a user engages in a conversation without the use of either
hand; provided, however, this definition shall not preclude the use of either hand to activate,
deactivate, or initiate a function of the telephone.
“Two-way radio” means two-way communications equipment that uses VHF frequencies
approved by the Federal Communications Commission.
“Use” of a wireless telephone or electronic communication device shall include, but not be
limited to, talking or listening to another person on the telephone, text messaging, or sending an
electronic message via the wireless telephone or electronic communication device.
c. (Deleted by amendment, P.L.2007, c.198).
d. A person who violates this section shall be fined as follows:
(1) for a first offense, not less than $200 or more than $400;
(2) for a second offense, not less than $400 or more than $600; and
(3) for a third or subsequent offense, not less than $600 or more than $800 .
For a third or subsequent violation, the court, in its discretion, may order the person to forfeit
the right to operate a motor vehicle over the highways of this State for a period of 90 days. In
addition, a person convicted of a third or subsequent violation shall be assessed three motor
vehicle penalty points pursuant to section 1 of P.L.1982, c.43 (C.39:5-30.5).
A person who has been convicted of a previous violation of this section need not be charged as
a second or subsequent offender in the complaint made against him in order to render him
liable to the punishment imposed by this section on a second or subsequent offender, but if the
second offense occurs more than 10 years after the first offense, the court shall treat the second
conviction as a first offense for sentencing purposes and if a third offense occurs more than 10
years after the second offense, the court shall treat the third conviction as a second offense for
e. Except as provided in subsection d. of this section, no motor vehicle penalty points or
automobile insurance eligibility points pursuant to section 26 of P.L.1990, c.8 (C.17:33B-14)
shall be assessed for this offense.
f. The Chief Administrator of the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission shall develop and
undertake a program to notify and inform the public as to the provisions of this act.
Notwithstanding the provisions of R.S.39:5-41, the fines assessed pursuant to subsection d. of
this section shall be collected by the court and distributed as follows: 50 percent of the fine
imposed shall bepaid to the county and municipality wherein the violation occurred, to be
divided equally, and 50 percent of the fine imposed shall be paid to the State Treasurer, who
shall allocate the fine monies to the chief administrator to be used for this public education
program, which shall include informing motorists of the dangers of texting while driving.
g. Whenever this section is used as an alternative offense in a plea agreement to any other
offense in Title 39 of the Revised Statutes that would result in the assessment of motor vehicle
points, the penalty shall be the same as the penalty for a violation of section 1 of P.L.2000, c.75
(C.39:4-97.2), including the surcharge imposed pursuant to subsection f. of that section, and a
conviction under this section shall be considered a conviction under section 1 of P.L.2000, c.75
(C.39:4-97.2) for the purpose of determining subsequent enhanced penalties under that section.
L.2003, c.310, s.1; amended 2007, c.198, s.1; 2010, c.40; 2013, c.70.