Never Text While Driving
Under New York State law you cannot use a hand-held mobile telephone or portable electronic device while you drive. Illegal activity includes holding a portable electronic device and
- 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
If you use a portable electronic device while you drive (except to call 911 or to contact medical, fire or police personnel about an emergency), you can receive a traffic ticket and be subject to a fine and a surcharge.
Conviction of a cell phone use, portable electronic device use or a texting violation will also result in points being added to your DMV driving record. If you receive 11 points in an 18 month period, your driver license may be suspended. Since 2009, accidents related to texting and cell phone use in New York have risen by a whopping 86% according to comprehensive analyses by TrafficTickets.com based on the DMV data.
Drivers below the age of 20 comprise the most sizable percentage of those involved in distracted driving accidents in New York. Attending to a call or sending a text might take very little time. However, during that time, the risk of an accident becomes exponentially larger. In fact, during just 5 seconds spent texting, a car traveling at 55 mph can traverse the length of an entire football field without any driver input.
What to do about distracted driving:
- Keep distractions out of the car. If you know you will be tempted to look at or use your phone, lock it in the trunk or turn it off.
- Ask passengers to obey your rules while they are in the car, meaning buckle up and don’t distract you.
- Designate a texter. If you have a passenger, hand over your phone so they can do the texting and/or talking for you.
- Be a good passenger by not distracting the driver.
- Know that as a driver, you have a responsibility to yourself and others. A vehicle is a heavy machine and should be treated with respect.
- Set your music/radio before you take your car out of park.
- Never use headphones while driving.
- Keep passengers to a minimum. If every person doesn’t have a seat belt, you have too many passengers.
- If you don’t feel well or are not emotionally able to drive – don’t. Ask for a ride or wait until you are able.