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Enforcement of distracted driving laws remains a challenge for officers

Distracted driving, as readers know, is a major concern when it comes to roadway safety nowadays. The use of smartphones and other mobile devices is certainly very prevalent, and public safety education has done little to ensure drivers make safe decisions. States have also passed measures to combat distracted driving as well, but the effectiveness of these measures is questionable.

Here in New York, all drivers are prohibited from using portable electronic devices, which includes hand-held mobile phones, personal digital assistants, handheld devices with mobile data access, laptops, pagers, messaging devices, portable computing devices and electronic games. E-mailing, texting, Internet browsing, receiving or sending images, and playing games are all prohibited. 

One of the challenges for law enforcement with distracted driving laws, of course, is consistency in enforcement. There are certainly inherent challenges in enforcing these laws, and there are practical reasons for this, not least of which is that it is isn’t always easy for officers to determine whether a driver is using a cell phone in a way that is illegal. In a certain number of cases, drivers may be ticketed after they are involved in an accident, so that enforcement is only done once harm has occurred.

Enforcement efforts are certainly ongoing, though. Earlier this month, state troopers in New York ran a five-day sweep throughout the state aimed at targeting distracted drivers, specifically those using electronic devices. The enforcement efforts resulted in 15,000 traffic tickets, which is a lot.

In our next post, we’ll continue looking at the issue of distracted driving law enforcement in New York, and the importance of working with an experienced attorney to minimize the consequences of distracted driving charges.

Sources:

Newyorkupstate.com, “NY State troopers issue 15,000 tickets during 5-day distracted driving crackdown,” April 18, 2017.

New York State Police, Distracted Driving, Accessed April 18, 2017. 

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