The use of hand held cell phones while driving for talking or texting is permitted in many states. However, New York takes a stricter stance and considers is worse than drunk driving. True enough, many car accidents are a result of one or both parties using a cell phone.
A person who drinks and drives still sees the road, unless inebriated enough to doze off on the wheel. When a person texts while driving, focuses all his or her attention to the phone for 5 seconds or more. This means that these people are a greater threat to pedestrian safety and to other drivers.
Statistics show that 3,179 people perished in 2014 due to motor vehicle crashes where there were distracted drivers. There were 431,000 injured as well.
According to NHTSA, 10 percent of drivers within the 15 to 19 year old age range were involved in fatal accidents where they were distracted during the time of the crash. Keep in mind that teens where the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted during the crashes.
Due to the widespread availability of smartphones, the numbers of people who own this type of device will rise even more in the next few years. This means that there will be more people put at risk if every cell phone owner used his or her phone while behind the wheel of a moving vehicle.
What is Distracted Driving?
According to Distraction.gov, distracted driving encompasses texting, using a cell or smart phone, eating and drinking, talking to passengers, grooming, reading (maps included), using a navigation system, watching a video and adjusting devices like CD players, mp3 players or the radio.
However, text messaging is considered more dangerous as it requires a person to take his or her eyes off the road. Therefore, it is considered the most alarming distraction, as the driver is driving a 2 to 4 thousand pound vehicle. At a speed of just 30 mph, a person could cover the distance of roughly ¾ of a football field in 5 seconds, hence the fear of lawmakers.
The Point System
From June 1st of 2013, cell phone violations and texting while driving has increased to 5 points (used to be 3). A cell phone violation is when a driver uses a phone without a hands-free device. Texting and driving is when a person uses an electronic device while driving. This means that one should not hold the device when behind the wheel of a car, unless it is parked of course.
This new point increase makes both mentioned moving offenses only second to speeding 21+, which is a 6, 8 or 11. Texting while driving and cellphone violations have the same number of points as passing a school bus or reckless driving. Please note that reckless driving is a criminal charge that can lead to getting one’s license revoked.
A motorist who has accumulated 11 or more points can be suspended. It may also reflect poorly on one’s insurance, causing it to increase.
Younger and new drivers may think they can get away with it. However, New York is strict when it comes to distracted driving. A first offense comes with a 60 day suspension for individuals with permits and those with junior or probationary licenses.
Cell Phone Stops
It is hard for law enforcers to spot if a person is texting while driving, as his or her lips don’t move, nor is the device pressed to the ear. The government decided that the best solution was to provide policemen with tall and unmarked SUVs. This allows them to peer down and check the hands of drivers. Please keep in mind that there are resting/texting zones on certain highways, as this provides drivers the chance to respond to urgent texts or calls.
One should also note that a red light is not a rest zone. Handling a device when the light is red is still prohibited.
Exceptions to the Laws
There are a few exceptions to the laws, according to SafeNY. The use of a hands-free phone is acceptable. The use of a hand held electronic device affixed onto the vehicle is allowed. A GPS device affixed to the car is permitted.
You may communicate without a hands-free device if you are calling the fire department, the police, ambulance corps, physician’s office or a hospital. Individuals who operated authorized emergency vehicles while performing official duties are also exempted.
NYC Texting Cell Phone Traffic Ticket Violations and Fines
AN officer may stop a person if he or she observes that the person is using a hand held device while their vehicle is in motion. The person will accrue 5 driver violation points. From November 1, 2014 onward, conviction results in a 120-day suspension of one’s permit or driver’s license. Added convictions within the span of six months after license restoration will result to the revocation of the probationary license, learner permit or junior license for at least one year.
For a first offense, a person shall be charged any amount from $50 to $200. If he or she commits the second offense within 18 months, the fine is $50 to $250. A third offense within 18 months will cost any amount between $50 to $450.
Dispute the Traffic Ticket with an NYC Texting Cell Phone Lawyer
If a person plans to dispute the charges, he or she should consider hiring a traffic ticket lawyer NYC. Never trust a lawyer who promises they can beat any traffic ticket. As a legal expert in the area, he or she will be well-versed with the process one has to undergo. A person who focuses on this type of legal specialty will have more experience than a lawyer who practices in another state, as an NYC lawyer would be privy to certain rules and regulations that an out of state lawyer might not be aware of.
Please note that it would be best to hire a traffic ticket texting cell phone lawyer NYC residents can vouch for, as there are many new lawyers who may not deliver exemplary service because they lack experience.