Lawmakers in every state have struggled to come up with ways to address the threat of drivers looking at their phones instead of at the road ahead of them. In New York, using a handheld telephone or portable electronic device while driving is illegal and punishable by steep fines and other penalties. New Jersey has a similar law, and police in that state have handed out more than 10,000 citations for cellphone use and other distracted driving over the past year.
New York's law against texting while driving is strict. It is illegal to use a hand-held mobile device while you drive. This means you can't talk on a phone if you're holding it while driving. You can't use your phone to send or retrieve texts, emails or the Internet. You can't use your phone to take or view photos, and you can't play games with it. The only exceptions are for dialing 911 or otherwise contacting emergency services about an emergency.
Distracted driving is the general term that New Yorkers may use to refer to any activity that takes a driver's attention off of the road. Often times, distracted driving is caused by cell phone use. Texting and driving, making phone calls, checking email and surfing the web are all common ways that drivers become distracted by their technology. Those who are suspected of distracted driving can be sanctioned for their alleged actions.
Texting is an important form of communication in today's busy world. It is often the way that parents stay in touch with their kids, how bosses reach out to their employees, and even the way that schools communicate with the families in their districts.
New York residents should take their tickets seriously. Whether they are incurred for allegedly driving too fast, driving while distracted, or driving in violation of local traffic laws, tickets can add up and mean big trouble for individuals who depend on the use of their drivers licenses. The more tickets and points a driver accumulates, the longer they may lose their driving privileges.
Texting and driving is an ambiguous term. People may believe that only sending text messages while driving is prohibited under New York law, when, in fact, many types of cell phone use are considered illegal when a person is behind the wheel. Talking on a cell phone, sending emails, surfing the Internet, and engaging in other phone-based activities while driving are all considered texting and driving for the purposes of imposing fines and points on drivers' licenses.
Most New Yorkers are likely aware that they can be ticketed if they are caught using a hand-held device while operating their car. Texting and driving is considered a dangerous practice by lawmakers because they believe that drivers who text do not give their full attention to the roads. In fact, texting and driving crackdowns are not uncommon, with one New York city recently ticketing more than two dozen people for texting and driving infractions.
Not long ago this New York traffic violation defense legal blog offered readers a detailed and informative post on what texting and driving actually means under New York law. Texting and driving does not only apply to the act of sending a text message while behind the wheel of a car. Its broad definition includes practically any use of an electronic device by a driver and can apply to many different scenarios.
Smart phones have become a staple in New York residents' backpacks, purses, and pockets. It is rare to find a person who has never used one of these powerful handheld devices and many people own them for use in their personal and professional lives. For all the convenience that phones have added to individuals' lives, they have also been targeted by lawmakers as potential distractions to individuals who get behind the wheels of vehicles.
Many states including New York have penalized texting and driving as a form of distracted driving. Legislators hope to protect individuals from harm by making it illegal for motor vehicle operators to use smartphones and other hand-held electronic devices while they are driving. Prohibitions against texting and driving extend beyond personal drivers though; commercial drivers can face serious penalties if they are found to be texting and driving in their rigs.