Smartphones have taken over our lives. Whether you're walking through Manhattan or Queens, you're likely to find people plodding down the street, eyes glued to their devices. Our need for constant connectivity has become all-consuming--and it's had a serious impact on our safety.
Since the advent of smartphones, instances of distracted driving-related traffic accidents have skyrocketed. Many states have responded by passing laws that crack down of texting while driving. However, New York legislators viewed the problem as more pervasive than that. They have enacted legislation banning all forms of device-related distraction.
In New York, it is illegal to do any of the following while driving:
- Talk on a hand-held electronic device
- Write, send, receive or read any text-based messages on such a device
- View websites on such a device
- Play games on such a device
- However, a driver may use a mobile device for calling or GPS, if that device is affixed to the vehicle. In addition, a driver may call emergency services on a hand-held device, even if it is not affixed to the vehicle.
The law has been amended since it was originally passed, making penalties for infraction stiffer. A driver who has violated the law can:
- Lose five points on their driving record
- Face fines ranging from $50 to $450
- Commercial drivers, junior drivers and drivers with a probationary license or learner's permit can face additional penalties.
Whether you're in New York as a resident or a tourist, it's important that you understand the laws of the road--and the legal ramifications if you don't comply.