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New York State Sets Penalties for Distracted Driving

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation over the summer that created new penalties for novice drivers who text behind the wheel. As Governor Cuomo announced:

“Statistic after statistic shows that texting-while-driving is a chronic problem in our society, particularly among teenagers, and it will only get worse if we do not take action to prevent this deadly behavior.”

Under the new law, texting or using a hand-held cell phone while driving will result in the same penalties for junior and probationary licensees as speeding, reckless driving, or following too closely behind another vehicle.

The penalties include 60-day license suspensions for first convictions. Subsequent convictions result in license revocations of 60 days for junior licensees and six months for those with probationary licenses.

Governor Cuomo was not exaggerating when he called texting while driving “deadly behavior.” In fact, texting behind the wheel is six-times more dangerous than drunk driving, according to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report. According to the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis, texting while driving causes more than 3,000 deaths and 330,000 injuries every year.

Although it is largely associated with the young, using portable electronic devices is dangerous for any driver. In New York State, it is illegal for anyone to engage in any of these activities while driving:

  • Talking on a handheld mobile telephone.
  • Composing, sending, reading, accessing, browsing, transmitting, saving, or retrieving electronic data such as e-mail, text messages, or webpages.
  • Viewing, taking, or transmitting images.
  • Playing games.

Car accidents hurt more than the victims — no one wants to live with the knowledge that they have taken an innocent life.

If you or a family member has been seriously injured because of a driver who was texting, talking on a phone or otherwise driving recklessly, you need an experienced attorney fighting for you. Contact the New York City personal injury law firm of David Resnick & Associates, P.C., for a free evaluation of your case. Call us at 866-213-1916 or fill out our online contact form


David Resnick founded the firm in 1998 after working in large law firms where he saw a need for greater client communication and more personal care. He wanted to help everyday folks who have had the misfortune to be injured in an accident.

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