The map shows the number of accidents involving cellphone usage by county for 2006-2010.
Source: N.J. Department of Transportation
Cell Phone-Related Accidents
If accident data is any indication, New Jersey’s tougher cellphone law does not appear to be having much effect.
The state passed its first ban on using a handheld cell phone while driving in 2004, but at the time it was a secondary violation, meaning drivers could only be ticketed if they were pulled over for another motor vehicle violation.
With nearly 3,600 crashes linked to cellphones in 2006, lawmakers made New Jersey the fourth state in the nation in which the use of a handheld cell phone is a primary violation. That law took effect March 1, 2008.
But it has not resulted in much of a reduction in the number of traffic accidents in which cellphone usage was a factor, according to data from the state Department of Transportation.
In 2007, the last full year in which using a handheld cellphone was a secondary offense, there were 3,287 total accidents statewide attributed to the device — whether handheld or hands-free. In those accidents, 1,236 people were injured and four died.
The number of accidents dropped to 3,204 in 2008, but rose again in 2009 to 3,557.
In 2010, the most recent year for which statistics are available, cellphones contributed to 3,351 accidents in which 1,501 people were hurt and three died.
The statistics also show that while fewer accidents are attributed to hands-free phones than to handheld devices, they still pose a distraction to drivers. Between 2006 and 2010, hands-free phone usage contributed to 7,798 accidents statewide, while handheld devices were considered a factor in 9,181 accidents.
Click on a county to see its accident statistics, including 2010 data, the change since 2006, and five-year totals for accidents, injuries, and deaths attributable to the use of handheld and hands-free devices.