NJ raises fines for using phones while driving

Higher fines take effect Tuesday for motorists caught talking or texting on handheld devices. (7/1/14)

TRENTON - (AP) - Motorists who can't put down their cellphones face tougher penalties in New Jersey.

Higher fines take effect Tuesday for motorists caught talking or texting on handheld devices.

First-time offenders would have to pay a fine of between $200 and $400. Drivers convicted of a second offense would have to pay between $400 and $600. Motorists convicted of a third and subsequent offenses would face a fine of $600 to $800, might lose their licenses for 90 days and have three points assessed against their driving records.

READ MORE: Transportation Stories

Some police departments plan to increase patrols.

Police issued roughly 3,000 summonses statewide for cellphone and electronic device violations as part of a crackdown in April.

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