You know that using your cell phone while driving is dangerous. It forces you to take your eyes off the road for at least a split-second. Even this tiny distraction can be very dangerous in the fast-moving traffic of New York City.
But it is more than dangerous – it’s illegal. Under New York State law, drivers cannot use hand-held mobile devices while driving. This includes:
- Talking on a handheld mobile phone
- Using email and text or surfing the web
- Taking, viewing or sending pictures
- Playing games
The only exception is calling 911 or contacting medical, fire or law enforcement personnel using your phone or other mobile device.
For violating this law in New York, you could receive a ticket, fine and surcharge. You could also receive points on your license. Receiving more than 11 points in 18 months could result in suspension of your driver’s license.
A May 2015 New York Times story reported that mobile device use among drivers has expanded beyond calling and texting to web surfing, tweeting and chatting. Drivers even reported making videos, taking selfies, looking at Facebook, and using Instagram and Snapchat while driving.
According to the National Safety Council, at least six percent of crashes nationwide are caused by the use of some type of mobile device. This figure probably undercounts such accidents because many police reports do not list mobile device use as a cause, even when recipients of calls and chats say that they were communicating with drivers when accidents occurred.
New York State participates in the “It Can Wait” campaign sponsored by AT&T to reduce the use of cell phones and other devices. New York has hundreds of signs and pullover tops along the Thruway and other major roadways.
Despite such efforts, the number of accidents continues to increase, according to the National Safety Council. Some speculate that this is happening even though drivers know better because users of mobile devices are addicted to the almost constant use of mobile phones.
Whether campaigns such as “It can wait” can address addiction remains to be seen. But given the publicity and awareness about the dangers of mobile device use while driving, addiction may be a reasonable explanation.