Lakewood Police Chief Greg Meyer answers your ‘Ask The Chief’ questions: Cell phones

The following is an ‘Ask The Chief’ question submitted to TLS, and the Chief’s response. Email your questions for the Chief to [email protected].


Thank you for taking your time to answer questions.

My question is about cell phone usage. What exactly can’t we do? is it holding the phone? what about holding but not talking? can we look at the phone if not holding it? I have a phone holder that attaches to the wheel and I use it for GPS but I need to look down, is that ok?


The Chief’s Response:

The law requires that any device being used as “hands free” which means you cannot hold the device. If you are holding the device you are in violation even if you are not talking, and both hands should be free to drive, steer and navigate our roadways.


Have a question for the Chief? Email it to [email protected]

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  1. The NJ Satute 39:4-97.3 reads:

    The use of a wireless telephone or electronic communication device by an operator of a moving motor vehicle on a public road or highway shall be unlawful except when the telephone is a hands-free wireless telephone or the electronic communication device is used hands-free……

    The NJ Supreme Court rules in State of NJ vs Elliot Malone that the statute permits a driver to hold the phone in one hand to activate, deactivate or initiate a function of the telephone.

    Although a Police officer may try to ticket you when he simply sees you holding a phone, case law says that you are permitted to dial a call, initiate your GPS etc. If you have a hands free phone, you are not required to pull over to dial a number.

  2. Boruch,
    Use common sense. For the purposes of court and appeals one can always analyze and re-analyze the technicalities of the law as it written. In practical life, if you kill a pedestrian while you were looking down and dialing on a hands free phone, does it make a difference? If you run off the side of the road and kill yourself will they say at your funeral …”oh well, at least he was using a hands free phone…” The spirit of the law, even if not enforceable, still means don’t use your phone whole driving. Don’t dial or text while driving, it’s distracting. If all you care about is a ticket your priorities are mixed up. Care about your life or at least those around you.

  3. The question was regarding the legality and Boruch was correct in pointing out that the Chief’s answer was over complying the matter and that police often incorrectly ticket above and beyond their rights.

    Another question: What about when parked at a red light? Can you use your phone then?

  4. Chief, please explain to all the women that holding the phone 6 inches away from your face distracts you more & is more noticeable by law enforcement

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