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Commercial drivers in New York face new cell phone restrictions

New York traffic laws have been evolving and can sometimes include different statutes or requirements for different types of drivers' licenses. Violations of New York traffic law can result in a variety of consequences including fines, points added to a Department of Motor Vehicle records, license suspensions and more.

A recent news article highlighted the new laws pertaining to all commercial drivers in the state of New York. Effective the last Monday of October, the law forbids any driver of a commercial vehicle from using their mobile phone in any manner other than hands free. This rule applies any time the vehicle is moving as well as for all times when a driver is temporarily stopped, like at a traffic light or stop sign. Drivers are allowed to press only one key on their phones to either make or accept calls. Anything beyond is considered non-hands-free use and is subject to violation.

Non-commercial drivers are allowed to use their phones more liberally when stopped in traffic as the hands-free rule for those drivers only applies while the car is actually moving. Interstate truck drivers have been required to follow these guidelines since January 2012 and the new law brings New York in line with federal guidelines. Drivers found guilty of not following the law face a mandatory suspension of their commercial licenses.

Texting or using a cell phone in a non-hands-free mode is a primary offense in the state of New York. That means that a police officer can stop a driver for that violation only if warranted. Commercial drivers who face charges regarding cell phone use may wish to consult with an attorney to learn what options they have.

Source:, "Tougher texting law starts Monday for truck drivers" Joseph Spector, October 26, 2013

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