Have You Heard about the Distracted Driving Hotline?
You’re keeping up with traffic, but you can’t figure out why the car in front of you is traveling at a snail’s pace. Then, you notice the driver is looking down and suddenly swerves into the next lane. You decide your safest course of action is to zoom past. As you do so, you peek into the window. The erratic driver is too busy texting to even notice you! What can you do when you notice someone is guilty of distracted driving?
If this story sounds all too familiar, it’s not surprising. According to some key facts and statistics accumulated by the State of New Jersey, distracted driving is a big problem. In fact, distracted driving was a factor in ten percent of accidents involving drivers under age 20. But, what can you do about it?
New Law Establishes Distracted Driving
You may not know it, but New Jersey is considered one of the toughest states when it comes to distracted driving. Additionally, New Jersey believes that average citizens are instrumental in keeping the roads safe. You might remember that there are numbers you can call when someone’s vehicle operation seems off. Now, you can add complaints about distracted driving. In order to make a call to report someone texting or failing to use a hands-free device, you can do the following:
- Use your cell phone to dial #77
- Landline number for New Jersey Turnpike – 609-860-9000
- Landline number for Garden State Parkway – 732-442-8600
- Landline number for Atlantic City Expressway – 609-965-7200
When making the call, you should be able to provide your location. Additionally, if you are able to recite the vehicle’s plate number, that would be useful.
Keep in mind that you can use these same phone numbers to report aggressive driving or what appears to be reckless driving. Also, these same hotlines can be used when you suspect someone is driving while under the influence.
What Happens When You Make a Distracted Driving Report?
Of course, there is a goal to setting up the distracted driving hotline. Law enforcement authorities that happen to be in the area may be able to issue a ticket. But, what occurs in the alternative? Based on your report, the New Jersey State Police will contact the owner of the vehicle by mail. The letter contains a warning about the penalties for distracted driving. They are as follows:
- First offense: carries a $400 fine,
- Second offense: carries a $600 fine,
- Third offense: Not only is there a $800 fine, but there are additional penalties. They include a license suspension of ninety days, plus an assessment of motor vehicle points.
Motorists who are involved in fatal accidents associated with distracted driving may face criminal charges. The same is true if someone is injured in an accident where distracted driving is found to be a cause.
Are people using the hotline? According to this news article, over one thousand reports came in within the first two months the phone numbers were provided to the public. Additionally, over 600 drivers were put on alert concerning their driving habits.
Were you in an accident caused by a distracted driver? Have you been served with a summons for distracted driving and facing criminal charges? The Law Offices of Anthony Carbone can help. Contact us to schedule an appointment.