Badge - Rated by Super Lawyers Victor A. Rotolo
Badge - Rated by Super Lawyers Anthony P. Kearns third
Badge - Million Dollar Advocates Forum
Badge - Multi Million Dollar Advocates Forums
Badge - New Jersey Supreme Court Certified Attorney
Badge - New Jersey's Best Lawyers For Families 2018
Badge - AV Preeminent Victor A. Rotolo 2024
Badge - Client Champion Gold 2024
Badge - Hunterdon County Chamber of Commerce
Badge - Top 100 The National Trial Lawyers
Please click Award & Selection Criteria & Methodology for information regarding the specific criteria used for selection of each of the above awards.

Distracted Driving

Each year in this country thousands of people are killed and hundreds of thousands more are injured as the result of distracted driving, making distracted driving a serious threat to road safety. Former prosecutor Anthony Kearns and former police officer Victor Rotolo have years of experience representing clients with their motor vehicle violations. The attorneys at Kearns Rotolo Law understand that each case is unique and requires an individual approach.

Victor Rotolo successfully argues before the NJ Supreme Court in a case of constitutional import, in which the Court ruled that a DUI conviction cannot be used in any later DUI case for sentencing purposes if, (1) the individual plead or was found guilty, and (2) the individual was not advised of his/her right to counsel and, as to indigent individuals, the right to assigned counsel.

Types of Distraction

The law defines distracted driving as any activity that takes a driver’s attention away from the task of driving. Texting is the most common of these distractions, followed closely by other uses of cell phones including talking and posting to social media. Others types of distraction include:

  • Adjusting dashboard controls (radio, CD player, heater or air conditioner)
  • Attending to children
  • Consulting a map
  • Eating or drinking (non-alcoholic)
  • Grooming (applying makeup, shaving, etc.)
  • Having unrestrained pets in the vehicle
  • Reading (newspapers, books)
  • Talking to passengers
  • Using a GPS
  • Watching videos

All of these activities can divert the driver’s eyes from the road momentarily, but even that may be long enough to cause an accident.

Texting has been singled out as the most serious distraction because it requires the driver’s visual, manual and cognitive attention.

Even a short message can divert a driver’s attention just long enough to put the driver, passengers and anyone else nearby in danger.

Distracted Driving vs. Driving Under the Influence

Studies have been conducted that show the impairment level of distracted drivers is equal to, if not greater than, that of a driver with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08%, the limit at which that driver could be charged with a DUI (Driving Under the Influence). Despite this, a vast majority of drivers, both teens and adults, admit to using their cell phones, specifically for texting and, surprisingly, for posting to social media while behind the wheel. In fact, although drinking and driving has been declining in recent years, distracted driving has been on the rise.

Impairments, whether caused by drugs, alcohol or distractions, affect the driver’s ability to control his or her vehicle. These influences can cause a driver to follow too closely behind another vehicle or veer into oncoming traffic, and can affect his or her ability to brake safely.

Preventive Measures

New Jersey has been a leader in taking actions to prevent distracted driving. As with drinking and driving, the State routinely runs campaigns to reduce distracted driving behaviors using the slogan, “U Drive. U Text. U Pay.”

In New Jersey, it is a primary offense to use a hand-held cell phone while driving, meaning you can be pulled over if observed engaging in this behavior. Hands-free devices are allowed, but not encouraged.

If convicted of using a hand-held cell phone while driving, you face a fine and possible suspension of your driving privileges. As with a DUI conviction, the amount of the fine would be dependent on your offense record. If your actions result in injury or death of another person, you will be subject to more severe consequences.

There are exceptions to New Jersey’s distracted driving laws allowing the use of a hand-held cell phone by a driver when:

  • the driver believes his or her life or safety is in danger or that a criminal act is being committed against the driver or another person; and
  • the driver is reporting a fire, accident, serious road hazard, medical emergency; or the reckless, careless or unsafe behavior of another driver, including the suspicion that the driver appears to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Protecting Your Rights

If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident and charged with engaging in a distracted driving behavior, particularly texting and driving, it would be advisable to consult with an attorney familiar with New Jersey laws regarding motor vehicle safety.

Together, the attorneys at Kearns Rotolo Law have more than 200 years of legal experience, including experience representing clients faced with motor vehicle violations. Our attorneys will look at the particulars of your case to prepare a defense to protect your rights under the State’s motor vehicle laws. Contact us at (908) 534-7900 for a consultation.

What Our Clients are Saying

I was very proud to be represented by Tony and felt secure at a time I needed a compass to head out of a difficult bind. Confidence in your counsel and a sense of security in understanding how best to proceed are important reasons to consider Anthony Kearns and his team of outstanding lawyers.

- Lynn

Tony was excellent! He was knowledgeable, responsive and on-time. His experience as a County Prosecutor definitely helped our case as he knows how the legal system works and how to navigate. I highly recommend Tony and his office.

- Matt

Thankfully I found Kearns Rotolo Law and I had a wonderful experience working with Charles Rifici on a difficult divorce/child custody issue. I am so grateful for all the work and guidance he provided. He always took his time and diligently went through all my options with me so I could make the decisions that benefitted my family and I. I will be forever thankful for the top notch services he provided.

- Cinthya

In March of 2022 I contacted Kearns Rotolo Law Firm with an urgent problem, Mr. Kearns and Mr. Rotolo contacted me immediately to give me hope as to rectify my problem. The end result was Mr Kearns was able to solve my issue through extreme professionalism, I am very grateful I found Kearns Rotolo Law firm and I would recommend their law firm to anyone that has a less extreme problem or a more complex problem, I am very grateful for their services.

- Bill

I met with Mr. Kearns yesterday about a devastating situation affecting our family. Mr. Kearns and his entire staff made us feel extremely comfortable and showed our family a compassionate side that gave us comfort in the most uncomfortable of situations. Thank you very much. God Bless.

- Christian