New York Distracted Driving Laws: Stricter Than You Might Expect

distract drivingIn years past, drivers had little to distract them behind the wheel. In most cases, the distractions amounted to kids playing in the back seat, or perhaps trying to get a cup of coffee to stay in the nearby cup holder. However, since smartphones are now a way of life, distracted driving has been taken to a whole new level. With people wanting to stay in touch with family and friends, as well as stay informed of the latest happenings, distracted driving has become a problem throughout the United States. For example, in New York, accidents resulting from distracted driving injured 33,000 people in 2015, and killed 160 individuals.

Extremely Strict Laws

Based on these statistics and the growing problem in this area, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo made New York’s distracted driving laws some of the strictest in the nation. Because of this, if you are driving in New York, it will be to your benefit to have a thorough understanding of just how these laws can affect you while behind the wheel.

Illegal Actions

According to the new distracted driving laws, New York drivers cannot hold their cell phone while talking on it, play any types of games, and cannot write, send, or view messages, websites, or images. If a driver is observed doing so while driving and is pulled over by police, they could be subject to much harsher penalties than in previous years.

What Can Drivers Do with Cell Phones?

While it may sound as if drivers can do little if anything with their cell phones during the course of driving, that is not necessarily the case. According to the new laws, drivers are still free to use their smartphones or other electronic devices in a hands-free capacity. This includes not only talking on the phone, but also using GPS and other features, so long as the phone is properly secured to a vehicle surface. And most importantly, while it is illegal to hold a phone and use it while driving, an exception to this is if the phone is being used to call 9-1-1 for an emergency.

Distracted Driving Penalties

While these penalties were in years past nothing more than a slap on the wrist, times have changed. According to the new laws, a distracted driving violation in New York will add five points to your driving record. If over an 18-month period you accumulate 11 points or more, your driver’s license is automatically suspended. Along with this, a $200 fine will go along with a first offense, $250 fine for a second offense, and $450 for a third offense. In addition, those possessing a probationary or junior license may face even more stringent penalties.

Due to the much more serious nature of these offenses and the much harsher penalties associated with them, it is imperative you understand the new distracted driving laws. Thus, if you find yourself facing these offenses, always consult with an experienced and knowledgeable attorney who specializes in distracted driving cases. The attorneys at Gersowitz Libo & Korek P.C. have more than 30 years of experience and knowledge to aggressively fight for your rights and get you the full extent of the monetary compensation that you deserve.