Criminal NJ cell phone law


I meant to write this a while ago, now I’m stuck doing it with my eyelids half-shut.

NJ Cell Phone law is absurd

We’ve all heard about this already, so I won’t bore you with the specifics, but how many of you think this new cell phone law phone law in NJ is just plainly ridiculous, and just another way for state and local authorities to seize your money and infringe on your rights?


While there is some merit for punishing people for acting in a reckless manner, or endangering the lives of others (such as making it an act of homicide if you kill someone while texting), the fact that cops can now pull you over if they think you’re texting with the phone in your lap is asinine.

I do agree that texting and driving is pretty stupid, because the phones have teeny displays and buttons, and require some amount of attention, but this law leaves a lot of things uncovered.

Here is my list of questions and concerns, as well as why this law is STUPID:

  • I always drive with one hand. ALWAYS. Why can’t I choose to do what I want with my other hand? Make it illegal to drive with one hand then.
  • You can operate the radio, adjust the sunroof, pick your nose, apply makeup, EAT, smoke, drink and just about anything else in the car. What makes using the phone any different?
  • It’s easier for me to just pick the phone up, and place it on my ear. When I have to start fuddling with and plugging in wires, or flimsy bluetooth headsets, it distracts me MORE!
  • What about talking in the car? Isn’t that distracting too? Or an argument with your wife or boyfriend? What about a car full of hyper kids? Can we ban them too?
  • Cell phone & driving related injuries and fatalities are rather low (though some say are under-reported), why not just make “cell phone use” part of the driving test? If they can’t handle using a phone in pressure situations, they don’t get a license.
  • OK, what if I had a bar of soap in my car, and loved putting it on my ear and talking to myself. Will you pull me over?

Ugh. I’m tired and need sleep now, but I wonder how many Pedestrian Accidents in Hoboken had something to do with cell phones… Nah.. it’s the parking.

What do you think of this new law?


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75 Comments on "Criminal NJ cell phone law"

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[quote comment=”72092″]The point I made is that even if the driver didn’t own a cell phone, they still would’ve ran into the reckless manner of the CD driver, the reckless jay walker, or the reckless lane crosser. But because they had a cell phone, authorities could charge the party who is not responsible for the accident and death.[/quote]

in pennsylvania motor vehicle laws, the driver is responsible to have control of his or her vehicle at ALL times. that means that if something happens in front of you, and you hit it, it’s your fault. so if a pedestrian, especially in a crosswalk, crosses in front of you and you cannot stop, you are at fault.

the lane crosser across 3 lanes, if you’re paying attention and were far back enough for the person to cross three lanes after entering a highway from an on-ramp and still be in front of you for you to hit him, then you had plenty of time to react and slow down and avoid the situation.


[quote comment=”72082″]Scenario #1:
Driver A is driving through an intersection past a green light while talking on the phone (with hand). Driver B, while changing CD’s in stereo, runs the red light and is T-Boned by Driver A. Driver B dies. Police establish Driver A was on cell phone. Does Driver A go down for vehicular criminal homicide since the law explicitly qualifies cell phones and not stereos?

Scenario #2:
Driver is driving through an intersection past a green light while talking on the phone (with hand). Pedestrian jay walks into intersection, while listening to “Pour Some Sugar On (It)”, against the Don’t Walk signal. Pedestrian dies. Police establish Driver A was on cell phone. Does Driver A go down for vehicular criminal homicide?

Scenario #3:
Driver X is driving along the highway, in the fast lane, and Driver Y merges onto the highway, crosses over 3 lanes right in front of Driver X who slams on brakes but strikes Driver Y who then crashes into the median and dies. Police establish Driver X was on cell phone. Does Driver X go down for vehicular criminal homicide?

D.A.’s discretion? Sure. But it’s possible they could also put the driver in prison for a law that defines it as criminal homicide. Slippery slope.[/quote]

scenario 2 probably would be homicide without the cell phone anyways.

everyone can think of scenarios where almost any law shouldn’t apply. the world isn’t black and white.

[quote comment=”72071″]people arguing against this law remind me of the people who argued against the “must wear helmet while riding motorcycle” law in florida (i cant remember if i read about it here or on another site). people were going nuts using the same arguments (why dont u make this and this illegal, dont infringe on our rights, bla bla). anyway, florida finally gave in and made helemets on bikes optional, and of course some imbecile woman (a strong proponent of the optional helmet law) goes and crashes and dies – whereas wearing a helmet would have saved her life (per the coroner). really, you shouldnt be driving and texting / looking down (and i won’t pretend im not guilty of this). but recently, ive started doing it alot less and using my bluetooth whenever im in the car. ive never gotten into an accident or come close before, but it’s always that one time when everything goes wrong, and then boom either a) youre dead or b) you killed someone else. so, if there are thousands of other people in this state like me who used to text or call alot more, and this law reduced that amount, how is that a bad thing? :roll:[/quote] OT but as per your helmet law comment…i’m from PA and they recently got rid of the helmet requirement. i spoke with my dad who pointed out that the motorcycle lobby groups (not really big money lobbyists but they do have a large group… Read more »

[quote comment=”72049″]

I would like to hear from a qualified shrink and/or sociologist who knows why people can’t go more than five minutes without talking on the telephone. We’ve all overheard the conversations on the 126, two milliseconds after the PATH door opens, in restaurants and stores. World peace is never at stake (“Hi it’s me I’ll like be home in like 12 minutes”); major business deals are seldom taking place (“Oh my god that’s awesim! Like oh my god!”). What on earth is so important that we can no longer eat dinner, drive a car or shop for groceries without gabbing on the phone?[/quote]

we’re all so lonely! i admit, i’ve gotten on the phone when i reach the street from getting off the path, but it’s usually for a specific purpose. i can’t stand my friends that are always on the phone. i also hate being in a car with someone, and they spend most of the ride on the phone. i really hate that. really bad. yeah, it annoys me.


[quote comment=”72033″]We have Nextels issued for work, and during a short period when I drove to work, I found it easy to hold the phone in my left hand while both hands were on the steering wheel. This would be illegal even though it is less complicated than changing a CD, which is not prohibited.

However, I never missed an important exit due to changing CDs as I did once while on the Nextel, so maybe the law has a point in that conversation is especially attention-absorbing. Also, if the conversation were with someone in the car, they could see what I was seeing and scream at me to act differently. :oops:[/quote]

i think you nailed it elaine. it appears to not be more complicated than those other items, but it really is. sometimes when you’re on the phone you almost realize you feel like you’re separated from what’s going on around you. you miss things, you only get bits and pieces of something going on around you. i notice this every now and then.

i notice when walking to work in manhattan that when someone in front of me is on a cell phone, they tend to walk slower than when not on the phone. as soon as they hang up, they pick up the speed.

now, if that doesn’t show it’s a distraction, i don’t know what does.