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Is it legal to text when your vehicle is at a stop light/sign?

On Behalf of | Sep 1, 2020 | Texting and Driving

You probably know that it is not legal to text and drive in New York. What you may also believe is that it’s totally fine to text behind the wheel if your vehicle is stopped. For example, if you’re at a red light, you might check your messages quickly before you have to get moving again.

Is it really legal to read or send texts when your vehicle is stopped on the road? That’s one thing that isn’t completely clear. According to New York’s laws, you cannot use a cellphone while your vehicle is in motion. Specifically, you cannot use it while you’re driving. Some people may argue that they are not driving while they’re stopped, which may be the case if the vehicle is in park. Still, a violation can take place if you are caught transmitting images, playing games, sending messages or talking on a phone while you’re behind the wheel. There are exceptions, such as if you need to call 911 or another emergency service.

The charges for violating the texting law include a first offense charge of between $50 and $200, second offense (within 18 months) charge of between $50 and $250 and third violation penalties of up to $450. Those are fairly significant fines, and you may also have additional surcharges of up to $93.

If you are facing fines for violating texting and driving laws, you can defend yourself. The law is not as black and white as some may believe, and it’s your right to fight against penalties you don’t believe you deserve. Texting and driving is dangerous, but you still have the opportunity to fight back if you’ve been accused unfairly.

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