Using a cell phone while driving can pose a threat to everyone on the road. In fact, the most frequent form of distracted driving in New York State involves cell phone use, according to the New York State Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee. Motorists distracted by cell phones regularly cause accidents that result in serious injuries and death. Motorists can help to avoid these sorts of tragedies by following New York’s Vehicle and Traffic Laws regarding cell phone usage.
New York State law prohibits the use of cell phones for talking, texting, or any other purpose while driving a motor vehicle on public roadways. Under New York law, “using” a cell phone includes, among other things, “holding a mobile telephone to, or in the immediate proximity of, the user’s ear” while operating a motor vehicle. Thus, according to the law, it may be presumed that a motorist is using a cell phone even if the phone is not in physical contact with their ear.
The law also regulates cell phone use for motorists that operate “commercial motor vehicles.” In New York, operators of such vehicles are prohibited from using cell phones on public roadways “including while temporarily stationary because of traffic, a traffic control device, or other momentary delays.”
Fines can be imposed on those who violate these traffic laws, ranging from $50 to $450 depending on the number of violations. Points can also be added to motorists’ driving records.
There are, however, several exceptions to the general rules outlined above. Drivers can use “hands-free mobile telephone[s],” which the law generally defines as phones that may be used “without the use of either hand.” Lastly, motorists may use cell phones in certain emergency situations. That is, depending on the circumstances, a driver may lawfully call the police, an ambulance company, or other emergency contacts identified in the law.
Unfortunately, no matter how careful a person is, they can still find themselves injured in a car accident. While the information above may serve as a general overview, every case involves a unique set of circumstances. If you were injured in a motor vehicle accident and are looking for assistance, an experienced personal injury attorney at William Mattar, P.C. can assess your situation and advocate on your behalf. Contact us online or via phone at (844) 444-4444.