New Jersey raises fines for using phone, texting while driving


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TRENTON, New Jersey — 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.

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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