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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has warned that texting while driving is one of the most dangerous distractions because sending or reading a text takes a driver’s eyes off the road for 5 seconds. In the span of 5 seconds, a driver going 55 miles per hour could cover the distance of a football field without seeing where he or she is going.
We know what it takes to prove negligence in these types of cases, and our legal team works tirelessly to demand the maximum compensation these crash victims deserve.
Contact us today to set up a free consultation. Our New York City attorneys can meet with you at one of our law offices, in your home, or at the hospital, whatever is most convenient for you. We do not charge any legal fees upfront to start work on accident claims, and we only charge a fee if we recover money for you.
NY Texting and Driving Laws
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Some people consider this case as a minor driving issue but the New York law bans the use of handheld cellphones or portable electronic devices while driving. The N.Y. Department of Motor Vehicles warns that it is illegal to drive while holding a portable electronic device and:
- Talking on a cellphone
- Composing, sending, reading, accessing, browsing, transmitting, saving or retrieving electronic data including email, text messages and webpages
- Taking, looking at or transmitting images
- Playing games
Handheld cellphones are not the only portable electronic device that is banned while driving. The law defines “portable electronic devices” as any handheld mobile telephone, personal digital assistant (PDA), handheld device with mobile data access, laptop computer, broadband personal communication device, two-way messaging device, electronic game, pager or portable computing device.
Penalties for Texting and Driving
People who are caught texting while driving face a wide range of penalties, including:
- Fines: $50 to $200 for a first offense, $50 to $250 for a second offense within 18 months, and $50 to $450 for a third or subsequent offense within 18 months
- Surcharge: Up to $93
- Driver violation points: 5 points on the driver’s license
- Probationary and junior drivers with a Class DJ or MJ license or learner permit face stricter penalties. This includes suspension of their license or permit for 120 days. A second conviction within six months of getting their driver’s license or permit restored results in a revocation of the license or permit for at least one year.
In addition, if a person causes a crash due to texting while driving, he or she can be held liable for the accident victim’s damages, such as medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering.
Increased Cellphone Restrictions for Truck Drivers
Truck drivers and those who drive other large commercial motor vehicles face greater restrictions on texting while driving. These massive vehicles can cause catastrophic injuries when they slam into others, so drivers have a responsibility to avoid any distractions on the road.
The N.Y. Department of Motor Vehicles indicates that:
- A motor carrier or trucking company cannot allow or require drivers to use cellphones or texting devices while in the process of driving.
- If a truck driver has to press more than one button to dial or answer a phone, it is not considered to be a “hands-free” device.
- A commercial vehicle driver cannot make a call or text while the truck is temporarily stopped in traffic, such as at a red light or stop sign.
- If a commercial vehicle driver is holding a phone to or near his or her ear while the vehicle is temporarily stopped, he or she is presumed to be on a call.
- If a commercial vehicle driver is holding a portable electronic device in a conspicuous manner while the truck is temporarily stopped, he or she is presumed to be using the device.
Truck drivers are professionals who should be held to a higher standard when it comes to safe driving. Truckers who text or talk on the phone while driving put everyone on the road at risk.
Exceptions to NY Texting and Driving Laws
Cellphone use is not completely banned among drivers in New York. The New York Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee states that drivers are allowed to use:
- A cellphone that enables the user to communicate without using hands
- A handheld electronic device affixed to the vehicle
- A GPS device attached to the vehicle
- A phone to call for help in an emergency
In addition, those who are operating an authorized emergency vehicle while performing official duties are allowed to use cellphones while driving.