Last time, we looked briefly at New York law concerning the use of mobile telephones while driving, including the presumption concerning holding a mobile telephone and exceptions to the rule. In addition to prohibiting talking on cell phones while driving, New York law also prohibits the use of portable electronic devices while driving, which refers to texting, surfing the Internet, checking email, and so on.
Texting and other use of electronic devices is prohibited while a vehicle is in motion for all drivers, and commercial vehicle drivers are also prohibited from using these devices while they are temporarily stationary due to traffic, stoplights, or other momentary delays.
As with the prohibition against talking and driving, there are certain exceptions to the rule concerning use of electronic devices. Emergency responders are not bound by the prohibition, and commercial vehicle drivers may use these devices when they are legally stopped on the side of a road.
A similar presumption as with talking and driving applies as well: a driver who holds a portable electronic device “in a conspicuous manner” while operating a motor vehicle, or while operating commercial motor vehicle which is temporarily stationary, is presumed to be using the device. This presumption can be defeated if the driver can show that he or she was not using the device in an illegal manner, which typically is difficult to do.
Those who are unfairly cited for distracted driving can and should work with an experienced attorney, of course, to build the strongest possible defense to resolve their case in the most favorable way. This is especially important in cases where the driver was in the right and he or she was improperly cited, whether because of the overzealousness of law enforcement or because of unusual circumstances.
Distracted driving charges sometimes come alone, but often there are other charges as well, and these can include a variety of moving violations and other infractions. When these are added up, the costs can be significant, and working to minimize the costs of charges is important. A skilled attorney can help build a defendant’s case so that he or she has the best shot at a favorable outcome.