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New Distracted Driving Law in Effect in New York

The State of New York has taken a tough stance against commercial truck drivers texting or talking on handheld cellphones —and not just while their vehicles are in motion. Truckers in New York are banned from using their cellphones even at stoplights or in traffic jams.

This law brings the state in line with federal regulations for interstate trucking that took effect in 2012. Under the federal law, commercial truck drivers face as much as $2,700 in fines, and their employers could be fined up to $11,000.

The New York Department of Motor Vehicles posted the following changes in state law.

  • A motor carrier must not allow or require drivers to use cellphones or texting devices while driving.
  • A mobile telephone used by a person who operates a commercial motor vehicle shall not be deemed a “hands-free mobile telephone” when the driver presses more than a single button to dial or answer the phone.
  • A commercial vehicle driver is not allowed to make a phone call or use a texting device while the vehicle is temporarily stationary because of traffic, a traffic control device, or other momentary delays.
  • A commercial vehicle driver who holds a mobile telephone to, or in the immediate proximity of, his or her ear while the vehicle is temporarily stationary because of traffic, a traffic control device, or other momentary delays is also presumed to be engaged in a call.
  • A commercial vehicle driver who holds a portable electronic device in a conspicuous manner while the vehicle is temporarily stationary because of traffic, a traffic control device, or other momentary delays is presumed to be using the device.

New York prohibits drivers from using hand-held cellphones while they are behind the wheel. Violators can be fined $150 and incur five driver violation points. These penalties increase for subsequent offenses.

New York has also established safe texting zones, where drivers can pull over, park and use their cellphones.

The New York Daily News recently published stories about accidents caused by cellphone use:

  • A Maryland woman lost control of her car, veered off the roadway, crashed into a tree, and plunged into a lake. She escaped from five feet of water by climbing out of the driver’s side window and swimming to shore. She faces criminal proceedings after confessing to texting while driving.
  • A school bus driver in Florida was pulled from her route after a young rider filmed her texting and talking on her cellphone when she should have been focusing on the road.

Texting while driving puts your passengers, other drivers, and pedestrians at risk, and safety organizations are applauding the New York Legislature for getting tough on this issue.

The new laws are in place to keep people safe. But if you have been hurt in a collision caused by a driver who violated these laws, the experienced distracted driving accident attorneys at David Resnick & Associates, P.C., can help ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.

Call 212-279-2000 today or fill out our online contact form to schedule your free initial consultation.

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