A state appeals court recently overturned a conviction under the New Jersey law that bans talking on a handheld cell phone while driving. The driver in this case was pulled over after a police officer saw him pressing buttons on this cell phone. The problem with this is that the law expressly allows “activating, deactivating, or initiating a function.” The appeals court, in overruling the lower court decision, held that dialing a phone before using a hand-free device counts as “initiating a function”. Score one for the driver.
So the ruling allows New Jersey drivers to press buttons on their phone in certain circumstances. However, New Jersey also has an express ban on texting while driving. How can a police officer tell the difference between someone texting while driving and someone who is pressing buttons to “initiate a function”? Let us know if you have an answer.