Texting While Driving Draws Tough Penalties in New York

In today's world we are constantly bombarded by our electronic devices such as cellphones, computers, electronic tablets or even e-readers. However, problems arise when we are unable to put these distractions away - especially while driving.

With the surging epidemic of texting while driving accidents, states throughout the nation, including New York, are stepping up enforcement of anti-texting laws. According to online insurance provider InsuranceQuotes.com, New York ranks among the top five states in the U.S. for driver texting penalties.

The company recently published its list of the 10 toughest states on texting while driving penalties, according to Bizjournal.com. New York was listed as number five, following Utah, Illinois, Wisconsin and California.

The company's ranking follows the National Transportation Safety Board's recent recommendation to prohibit drivers nationwide from texting behind the wheel - a practice widely acknowledged as a major cause of distracted driving. While urging a nationwide ban, the company acknowledged that 35 states, along with the District of Columbia, already forbid the practice. What's more, driver texting is a primary offense in 32 of those states, plus D.C. - meaning that drivers can be pulled over if they are observed texting while driving.

Texting While Driving - Penalties in New York

Since texting became a primary offense in New York in 2010, first-time offenders are fined $150 and pay an additional $85 in state tax. Three demerits - called points - are also placed on the texter's driving record, according to Safeny.ny.gov. Penalties apply to all texting activities, including reading, composing, sending, browsing, retrieving or saving electronic data. Drivers using a GPS or other electronic device attached to a vehicle, or drivers reporting an emergency, are exempt from the penalty.

A police crackdown over the Thanksgiving weekend last year resulted in 800 tickets to New York drivers observed texting-while-driving - further illustrating that people are still not putting their phones down while driving. Until everyone starts taking texting laws seriously, people will continue to be needlessly injured, or even killed, by drivers distracted by their phone.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver, contact an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your case and review your options.