New Jersey's texting law goes into effect a year from now in July, 2014.

 

(Tom Keck/Getty Images)

Governor Christie signed the bill sponsored by Senators Dick Codey and Fred Madden at the beginning of July.

The new law puts in place a graduated penalty structure for repeat the offenders who violate the state’s hands-free cell phone law more than once in a ten-year period. The violation now carries a $100 fine for each offense.

The new law increases the fines to $200 to $400 for a first offense, $400 to $600 for a second offense, and $600 to $800 and a 90-day driver’s license suspension for the third or subsequent offenses. The fines would be divided equally between the county and municipality where the violation occurred and the Motor Vehicle Commission for use in a public education program.

Meanwhile, starting in October 2013, all state laws banning the use of cell phones and  texting  will be a first offense according to the Governor's Highway Safety Association. An officer may cite a driver for using a hand-held cell phone without any other traffic offense taking place. In New Jersey the law is already a first offense.

Kevin McArdle contributed to this report