Distracted Driving: A Serious Problem in New York

Did you know that according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 15 people die per day in the United States in car accidents that involve distracted driving? Moreover, another 1,200 people are injured on a daily basis.

Distracted driving is a national problem. "Distracted driving" is defined as any activity that diverts a motorist's attention from the task of driving. Unfortunately, far too many people engage in this dangerous habit.

Activities that make driving hazardous include the following:

  • Using a cellphone or smartphone (including text messaging or talking)
  • Eating and drinking
  • Talking to other passengers
  • Putting on makeup
  • Reading (including maps)
  • Using a navigation system
  • Adjusting a radio, CD player or MP3 player
  • Watching a video

These practices are just a few examples.

Safety agencies are extremely concerned with texting and driving, which has proven to be a frequent practice among young drivers. The CDC reports that more than 25 percent of motorists ages 18-29 admit to texting or emailing "regularly" while driving. This figure is staggering and obviously poses great danger to innocent motorists.

Text messaging, perhaps the greatest concern, requires visual, manual and cognitive attention. Texting while driving severely affects one's ability to concentrate on the road. Distraction.gov indicates that those who use handheld devices are four times more likely to injure themselves in a serious car crash.

New York Law: Cellphones and Distracted Driving

Under New York Law, all handheld cellphone use is prohibited while driving. A motorist that uses a handheld cellphone while driving can receive a traffic ticket and a maximum fine of $100. Furthermore, mandatory surcharges and fees can be issued up to $85. A violation also adds three points to the driver's license.

It is important to note that taxi drivers and novice motorists may not use a cellphone in any capacity while driving. However, for all motorists, there is an exception to the use of a cellphone in the event of an urgent situation (for example, to contact emergency services).

All New York drivers are prohibited from texting. A motorist who uses a cellphone to send text messages while driving can be fined up to $150 (in addition to mandatory surcharges and fees of up to $85). This violation also carries three driver points on the motorist's record.

In New York, handheld cellphone and texting laws are "primary" laws. This means that an officer can pull a motorist over for the offense without having witnessed another violation.

When people lose focus of the road, serious accidents happen. If you or a loved one has been injured in a crash caused by distracted driver, seek the advice of a skilled personal injury attorney in your area.

Having an experienced, skilled trial attorney by your side is an absolute necessity. The insurance companies working to defend your claim immediately begin their investigation and the efforts to minimize the payments they make to you. If you don't have a respected trial attorney working for you, you will never recover fair compensation for your losses. Therefore, you should contact a local attorney as soon as possible.