Friends don’t let friends Text and Drive
The battle against sending and receiving a text while driving got real on November 1, 2014. In answer to the call for action by New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo, new penalties were created for holders of a probationary license, a class DJ and MJ driver’s license or learner’s permit for using a cell phone and/or texting and driving with a hand held device while operating a motor vehicle.
As a result, a first-time conviction for sending or receiving a text while driving will result in a mandatory 120-day license or permit suspension. Any additional convictions within six (6) months of a license restoration will result in a mandatory revocation for one (1) year.
These new tough penalties are the result of two studies that revealed sending or receiving a text while driving by teenage drivers is the number one cause of death on the roadways surpassing DWI fatalities. Researchers at Cohen Children’s Medical Center estimate more than 3,000 annual teen deaths nationwide from texting and 300,000 injuries. While the CDC estimates show teen deaths from driving under the influence of alcohol resulted in approximately 2,700 annual teen deaths and 282,000 injuries.
Under New York State V.T.L. §§ 1225 c & 1225 d, a driver cannot use a hand-held cell phone or send a text or an email while they drive. Violators of this law face a $150.00 dollar fine for 1st offense a $200.00 fine for 2nd offense and up to a $400.00 fine for a 3rd offense in 18 months and of course, each one of these fines come with the $93.00 NYS surcharge but worse is that since June 2013 this moving violation now carries five (5) points on a drivers DMV abstract.
The NYS DMV states that illegal activity includes merely holding a portable electronic device. As well as: talking on a mobile phone, composing, sending, reading, accessing, browsing, transmitting, saving, or retrieving electronic data such as e-mail, text messages, or webpages, viewing, taking or transmitting images and playing games.
A “Portable electronic device” is any hand-held mobile telephone, a personal digital assistant (PDA), a handheld device with mobile data access, a laptop computer, pager, broadband personal communication device, a two-way messaging device, an electronic game, or portable computing device.
For drivers with a probationary driver license, a Class DJ (Junior License) or Class MJ (Junior Motorcycle License) or learner permits: a conviction for sending or receiving a text while driving results in an automatic suspension for 120 days and a second conviction within six months of a restoration results in a revocation for one full year.
If you are charged with operating a motor vehicle while using a cell phone, e.g. text while driving, you face hefty fines and violation points that can result in an increase to the cost of your automobile insurance or even having your coverage dropped (In New York State a driver only needs 11 points to have their license suspended). You need legal representation to protect your rights and explore your legal options. Contact my office today and schedule a free confidential consultation.