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Safety group urges complete ban on texting while driving, more restrictions for younger drivers

Here in New York, we have some fairly strict vehicle traffic laws governing the use of cell phones while driving and the practice of texting while driving. Specifically, both are considered primary offenses, meaning they are illegal and any law enforcement official in the state can currently stop and ticket a motorist for either offense.

Interestingly, a new report by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) - an advocacy group dedicated to making our roads and highways safer - reveals that the efficacy of these laws (and similar laws in other states) is not entirely certain.

In fact, the report even goes so far as to recommend that the 41 other states that currently do not have bans on the use of cell phones while driving to abstain from passing such laws until more can be learned about their overall effect and about distracted driving in general.

"Despite all that has been written about driver distraction, there is still a lot that we do not know," said Barbara Harsha, executive director of the GHSA, in a released statement. "Clearly, more studies need to be done addressing both the scope of the problem and how to effectively address it."

While the GHSA stopped short of endorsing a complete ban on the use of cell phones while driving, it did make the following suggestions in its report:

  • A complete ban on the use of cell phones (both handheld and hands-free) for young drivers
  • A complete ban on texting while driving for all drivers

Interestingly, the GHSA report also determined that distracted driving - typically caused by cell phones or other mobile devices - is a common thread in at least 25 percent of all car crashes in the United States. Furthermore, the report also determined that while talking on a cell phone raises the probability of a crash, texting poses a far greater risk to motorists.

Stay tuned for more from our New York traffic law blog ...

A ticket for violating a vehicle traffic law can result in serious consequences, including fines, points against your license, increased insurance rates, license suspension/revocation or even jail time. Accordingly, if you or a loved one has received a citation, don't just dismiss it.

Instead, consider contacting an attorney who understands New York's confusing legal system, and who can help you evaluate your options and make the right decisions.

This post was provided for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.

Related Resources:

Cell phones, devices biggest driving distractions (Reuters)

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