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I was pulled over about a month ago for talking on my cell on speakerphone. Ain’t nothin’ more sobering than saying to a cop: Why am I being pulled over, Officer? You were on your cell phone. But it wasn’t up to my ear…

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No dice, people. If you’re holding it, it isn’t hands free. But bluetooth earbuds are for the dinosaurs. And I’ve been told (by my husband) that the 2005 minivan I drive has some kind of handsfree but I don’t know how to use it. Excuses.

For me, the fine was $130 and no points.

Starting July 1 of this year,  the fines for talking or texting on a “hand held device” increased. First time offenders will face a fine of at least $200, second offense of at least $400, and drivers who are caught a third time will face a fine of at least $600, a possible 90-day suspension of their driver’s license and will be assessed (3) three motor vehicle penalty points.

Collectively we should be cracking down on distracted driving anyway. These news penalties offer an additional compelling reason.

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Mary Galioto
Mary Galioto is the founder, publisher and editor of MercerMe, and a lawyer. Originally from Brooklyn, Mary has progressively moved deeper and deeper into New Jersey, settling in the heart of the state: Mercer County. Formerly the author of an embarrassingly informal blog, Mary is a lifelong writer and asker of questions and was even mentioned, albeit briefly, in the New York Times and Washington Post. In her free time, Mary fills her life with excessive self-reflection, photographing mushrooms, and misguided adventures in random hobbies. Mary also works as the PR Coordinator at the Hopewell Valley Arts Council, serves on the volunteer Board of Trustees of the Lawrence Hopewell Trail (LHT), serves on the Hopewell Borough Board of Health, is a member of the Hopewell Valley Municipal Alliance, and holds the elected position as the Hopewell Borough Democratic Committee Municipal Chairwoman.

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