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New York Distracted Driving: Cell Phones Behind the Wheel Can Be Deadly

New York is tough on distracted drivers who use cell phones to talk or text while behind the wheel. And Gov. Andrew Cuomo is proposing in his new budget steeper fines for these offenses.
 
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    February 01, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- The greater Rochester, N.Y., community remembers all too well and with pain the horrible, fiery motor vehicle accident in 2007 that killed 5 cheerleaders, just 17 and 18, who had just graduated from high school in suburban Fairport. The girls, all close friends, had just won a national cheerleading title and were on their way to a weekend getaway, when their SUV swerved into the wrong lane on a two-lane highway into the path of a semi truck.

While the investigation into the SUV-truck crash found several possible contributing factors, it had to be particularly painful for their loved ones to learn that reconstructed mobile phone records show that the driver's phone had been used for texts and calls immediately before the accident with the tractor-trailer. No one will ever know if it was the driver or a passenger using that phone, however. Tragically, it is well known that many teens then and now think nothing of texting and driving.

No text is worth it

Government agencies and safety advocates have been relentless in trying to get the message out that no text message is worth not waiting until after driving is over to prevent such tragedies from happening. Ultimately, New York drivers have the legal responsibility to drive safely and without added distractions to keep their passengers, those in other vehicles, on motorcycles and bikes, and pedestrians out of harm's way.

New York distracted driving laws

New York is tough on distracted drivers who use cell phones to talk or text while behind the wheel. And Gov. Andrew Cuomo is proposing in his new budget steeper fines for these offenses in hopes of further deterring the dangerous behavior.

Since 2001, talking on a mobile phone while driving has been an illegal traffic offense in the state, except for during emergency calls or on hands-free devices. Currently a violation of the cell phone-talking ban can bring a fine up to $100.

In addition, since 2009, texting, emailing, gaming, and taking or sending images on a cell phone, laptop, portable computer or similar device while driving has been a traffic infraction punishable by a fine up to $150. Exceptions include emergency and police use. In 2011, this infraction became a primary offense for which a driver could be pulled over by law enforcement.

If the governor's proposals are enacted by the New York Legislature, minimum fines would be instituted for the first time ($50 for either texting or talking on a cell phone behind the wheel), and maximum fines would rise steeply to $550 for repeat offenders, according to the Associated Press.

Get legal counsel

New Yorkers will be watching with interest to see what the legislature does with the governor's proposal. In the meantime, if you or a loved one is injured in a car or truck crash, or a family member passes away, consult an experienced New York motor vehicle accident attorney to assist you with investigation and potential legal action, especially if negligent or reckless use of a mobile phone could have contributed. Such evidence could be very important to your case.

Article provided by Sarkis Law Firm
Visit us at www.sarkislawfirm.com



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