Former Traffic Court Judge Serving New York and New Jersey

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What are New York’s laws regarding cell phones while driving?

All people who drive in New York should be aware of the state’s laws governing the acceptable and non-acceptable use of mobile phones or other devices while operating motor vehicles. The laws in this area have been changing over the past couple of years and some fines have even increased as of this past November.

The New York Department of Motor Vehicles website outlines very clearly that all drivers, whether operating passenger or commercial vehicles, can receive a total of five points on their driving records if convicted of cell phone traffic violations after June 1, 2013. That is an increase of two points over the prior consequences for these violations. Fines for all offenses begin at $50 and can go up to $200 for a first offense. For a second offense with an 18-month time period, the fine can be up to $250 and for a third or greater offense within an 18-month time period, the fine can be as high as $450. In addition, a $93 surcharge is assessed on these violations.

Drivers who have probationary licenses, junior licenses or learner’s permits can have their driving privileges suspended for 120 days for a first offense of the cell phone laws. For second offenses within six months of the restoration of privileges, licenses or permits can be revoked for a period of one year. Commercial drivers are banned from touching any more than one button to make or answer calls while operating their vehicles, even if idling and stopped at the time. Any holding of phones can also be construed as illegal handheld use, opening them up to citations and related fines, points and other consequences.

This information is not intended to provide legal advice but general information regarding New York’s cell phone laws while driving.

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