You probably know that texting behind the wheel is prohibited in New York, just as using your phone is. In fact, as of Dec. 1, 2001, violators who use a handheld telephone to place a call while driving may be charged with fines of up to $200 and will receive a ticket for violating the law.
The key term in this is that you have to be using a handheld device. If you can use a device that is not handheld, then you may be able to use your phone and not violate the law.
The state has specific exceptions to the law. The exceptions are made when the driver:
- Is using a hands-free device, so that they can communicate without using either hand to manipulate a device
- Is making a phone call for the purpose of reporting an emergency
- Is operating an authorized emergency vehicle while on duty, such as driving an ambulance or police cruiser
Portable electronic device use is prohibited in New York
Remember that using an electronic device while driving is not legal in New York, except for in rare circumstances. This includes taking pictures, playing games, texting and other actions.
Should you fight the ticket if you’re accused of using your phone behind the wheel?
If you receive a ticket for using your phone behind the wheel, you do have the right to contest the ticket and argue that you are not guilty. You can dispute the traffic ticket, and your attorney will help you determine which supporting evidence and defense would be best under the circumstances. Our site has more on what to do next if you’re accused of talking on the phone while driving.