Many people find it necessary to multitask to keep up with the fast pace of modern-day living. Multitasking while driving is common, but it is also extremely dangerous and illegal. Distracted driving has become a major problem in the United States and seemingly gets worse each day. According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), distracted driving accounts for over 1,000 injuries and almost nine fatalities per day.
Each state enforces their own distracted driving laws, but they are all quite similar. Distracted driving is classified as any activity that takes the focus of the driver away from the road; this includes visual, cognitive, and manual distractions. Manual distractions are those that take the driver’s hands away from control, such as a cellphone.
Many states have outlawed the use of phones during the act of driving. In New Jersey, hands-free calls are allowed, except for bus drivers, motorists under the age of 21 years old, and those who only have a learner’s permit.
For those charged with a traffic violation for distracted driving, there are defenses that can help. The first step is to seek the help of a reputable criminal defense lawyer who has experience in distracted driving cases and other related issues. Some possible defenses for distracted driving are listed below.
Traffic Law Exceptions
New Jersey law does make exceptions for cellphone usage while driving. For instance, if the driver believed their life was in danger and was calling for help. Another exception is if the driver was using their phone to report an accident, a medical emergency, or a hazard that can endanger themselves and others on the road. It is also encouraged for a motorist to report reckless driving.
New Jersey is a comparative negligence state, which means that a victim cannot be awarded compensation if they are found to be more than 50 percent responsible for the accident that injured them. Additionally, if they were found to be 25 percent responsible, then they are only awarded 75 percent of compensation, which lowers the penalty for the defendant.
Burden of Proof
It is quite difficult to prove a driver was not using their phone for an emergency. In any criminal case, it is important that the police have a search warrant to search their property, phone included.
What are the Penalties of Distracted Driving?
Each state also has varying penalties for drivers convicted of a distracted driving charge. Some states penalize the driver with fines for the first few offenses, while others may view distracted driving as a criminal offense and charge drivers with a misdemeanor, especially if an injury occurred.
It is important to know what to expect if charged with such offense. A well-qualified lawyer can help after a distracted driving charge.
South Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyers at Agre & St. John Protect the Rights of Those Facing Unwarranted Distracted Driving Charges
A car accident can be a traumatizing experience for all parties involved, especially if a driver is charged with a criminal offense. If you have been wrongfully charged for distracted driving, then contact the South Jersey criminal defense lawyer at Agre & St. John immediately. We can build a strong defense on your behalf. Call us at 856-428-7797 or contact us online for an initial consultation. Located in Haddonfield, New Jersey, we proudly serve clients throughout South Jersey, including Burlington County, Camden County, Gloucester County, and Salem County.