Former Traffic Court Judge Serving New York and New Jersey

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Distracted driving takes center stage in New York

Getting behind the wheel of a car is a natural thing that people do every day in our society, sometimes with little thought as to the privileges inherent or the laws governing it. Today’s New York traffic law, however, are clear and sometimes strict in an effort to ensure public safety and minimize motor vehicle accidents and other problems.

Distracted driving is one of the most discussed topics in traffic law in just about any state it would seem and each state has its own unique laws and approach to the problem. New York is taking a new approach to attempt to combat texting while behind the wheel. A recent article reported on a campaign launched that will encourage drivers to pull over at designated locations before they text. Throughout the state, 300 signs reading, “It can wait: text stop 5 miles” will alert drivers to what will be known as “texting zones” set up in parking lots and rest areas.

New Yorkers used to receive three penalty points for a distracted driving citation but now that has been raised to a total of five points and fines up to $150. A police effort to come down hard on distracted driving saw more than 21,000 citations issued between July and September of this year. That compares with just over 5,200 for the same period last year.

The ramifications of vehicular citations can become serious quickly. Insurance surcharges, license suspensions and even jail sentences can result. If you are facing such a situation due to traffic law problems or tickets, you may consider a consultation with an attorney to learn how what you can do.

Source: Los Angeles Times, “New York promotes ‘texting zones’ where chatty drivers can park,” Tina Susman, September 23, 2013

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