New Jersey has become the second state to pass legislation that bans use of hand-held cell phones while operating a moving vehicle. New York state passed the nation's first hands-free law in 2001, and more than 40 states have pending legislation.
The law, signed by New Jersey Gov James E McGreevey, allows cell phone use provided the placement of hands-free equipment does not interfere with the operation of federally required equipment on the vehicles such as air bags.
Drivers may use a hand-held phone only in cases of personal danger or to report a fire, traffic accident, serious road hazard, or to report a dangerous or reckless driver.
Law enforcement officials may only cite non-compliant drivers as a secondary action; that is, when a driver is pulled over for another reason. The penalty for using a hand-held phone while driving is a fine ranging from $100 to $250. No license or insurance points would be assessed.