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What are New York State’s distracted driving laws?

In our era of modern technology, drivers have myriad distractions at their fingertips. If you are a commuter in New York State, then you may have seen a distracted driver on the road. From texting while driving to chatting on the phone, far too many people seem to believe that distracted driving is harmless. But this is far from true.

Distracted driving is one of the most common causes of motor vehicle crashes. In 2018 alone, distraction contributed to more than 87,700 auto accidents. To curb the rate of distracted driving, New York legislators have enacted several restrictions. Before you hit the road, take a moment to read up on our state’s laws regarding driving and technology.

Distracted driving regulations: what to know

New York has some of the nation’s strictest laws on distracted driving. These are the basics:

  • Drivers of any age may not use handheld electronic devices except in emergencies
  • This means no texting, emailing, navigating, calling or playing games
  • Exceptions include contacting the police, the fire department, an ambulance or a hospital or doctor’s office
  • It is acceptable to use hands-free devices for communication

A first offense for distracted driving can result in a fine of up to $200 and five points on your driver’s license. Repeat offenses may result in even more serious penalties such as license revocation.

What to do if you are in a distracted driving accident

Even if you take every precaution that you can, it is not always possible to avoid a distracted driving accident. If you find yourself in a crash, this is what you should do:

  1. Call the police to have them file a report
  2. Seek medical attention immediately, even if you do not have visible injuries
  3. Get the contact information of the other driver
  4. Get the contact information of any witnesses
  5. Consider your legal options

Even a moment’s distraction can result in a deadly injury. We hope that as you hit the roads, you never have to experience harm due to a distracted driver. If you do, then know that you have the right to seek compensation for your damages.