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A woman driving a car during sunset in New Jersey, with a scenic view of layered mountains and a soft orange sky visible through the windshield.

Using Your Phone at a Red Light May Soon Be Illegal in New Jersey

As you drive, you hear the dinging of notifications. It can be hard not to glance at your phone to see what’s going on. So, you wait until you’re at a red light to grab your phone, glancing up every few seconds to make sure the light hasn’t turned green. This may feel like an innocent and harmless act, but it may soon be illegal. In New Jersey, distracted driving has been the leading cause of fatal crashes since 2011. Shockingly, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), has stated that driving a vehicle while texting is six times more dangerous than intoxicated driving. So, New Jersey lawmakers are taking some steps to make the roads a safer place. According to, under a new bill, holding the phone in your hand while at a red light could cost you the same fine as texting while driving.

What are the Penalties for Texting and Driving?

Because using your phone while driving is so dangerous, cell phone violations come with some heavy fines. The penalties for using your phone while driving include:

  • A fine between $200 and $400 for a driver’s first offense
  • A fine between $400 and $600 for a driver’s second offense
  • A fine between $600 and $800 in addition to 3 points issued on the driver’s record for a third or subsequent offense. This may also require a license suspension for 90 days.

So, under the new proposed bill, getting pulled over for using your phone at a stoplight will incur these same fines.

What Are New Jersey’s Other Cell Phone Violations?

Cell phone violations don’t only refer to texting and driving. In New Jersey, the following are all considered cell phone violations:

  • Talking on a handheld mobile phone
  • Writing, sending, reading, or receiving any data over the phone. This may include text messages, emails, or the use of social media
  • Searching through the internet
  • Watching or taking any pictures or videos
  • Playing games

What do I do if I Receive a Cell Phone Violation?

If you receive a cell phone violation, you will want to contact a skilled traffic violation attorney. Cell phone violations can impact your financial future. A traffic violation attorney may be able to lower the fines or points you receive on your license.

If you or a loved one has been pulled over for a cell phone violation and received a ticket, reach out to our firm today to discuss your options.


Kevin T. Conway is an experienced Bergen County criminal attorney handling DUI, DWI, traffic violations, violent crimes, sex crimes, illegal gun possession, shoplifting, and juvenile crimes. Attorney Conway is also experienced in commercial law matters, zoning law, and estate planning. If you need an aggressive criminal lawyer, contact The Law Office of Kevin T. Conway for a free consultation.

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