A bill to allow prosecutors to charge people who cause injuries or fatalities while using a cell phone and driving is on its way to becoming a law in New Jersey. According to Philly.com, a 23-year-old woman encouraged lawmakers to move forward with the bill after losing her nephew and her nephew’s mother to a driver who was on his cell phone at the time of the crash. Under current law, the authorities cannot charge the party responsible for a distracted driver crash in New Jersey. The state banned handheld cell phone use six years ago, but officials are moving to raise the penalties from a mere $100 fine. The Senate is also moving to increase the fine from $100 to $200 for first-time offenders and then an increase to $400 for a second offense and $600 for a third offense.
It is clear that distracted driving continues to be a serious problem in New Jersey and throughout the United States. A 2011 report by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) found that a quarter of all drivers admitted to texting while driving. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 58 percent of high school seniors had texted or emailed while driving during the previous month of the study.
It is not clear if the bill to prosecute distracted drivers will go through, but negligent drivers can be held civilly liable for their actions. The family of someone killed in an accident involving a distracted driver should discuss their legal rights and options with an experienced car accident attorney.
The knowledgeable Princeton cell phone car crash lawyers of Lependorf & Silverstein have a proven track record of holding distracted drivers accountable for their actions. If you or a loved one has been injured in a New Jersey car accident, please contact us at (609) 240-0040 for a free, comprehensive and confidential consultation.