Former Traffic Court Judge Serving New York and New Jersey

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Using phones while driving could cost teen drivers their licenses

The use of cellular phones for many New York teens is almost second nature. As such, they often do not see the dangers that can arise from using their phones when they are operating motor vehicles. Under New York state law, however, teenage motorists could face serious penalties if caught talking or texting while driving. At Martin A. Kron and Associates, LLP, we often consult with teen drivers who have received tickets for using portable electronic devices in their vehicles. In this post, we will discuss the law regarding the use of such devices, and the penalties that may result from such tickets.

With few exceptions, all New York drivers are not permitted to use handheld cellular phones and other portable electronic devices while driving. This includes talking on a handheld phone or playing games, according to the SafeNY website. Additionally, it is illegal to read, compose, access, browse, send, save, retrieve or transmit electronic data, such as webpages, text messages and e-mail. Drivers are also not permitted to take, view or transmit images.

While the penalties for using cellular phones while driving are strict for all motorists in the state, they are more severe for new and young drivers. With few exceptions, a first time conviction for junior drivers of a talking or texting violation will result in a 120 driver’s license suspension. According to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, the penalties are increased for those convicted a second time within six months of their first convictions. In these cases, those with probationary licenses, Class DJ licenses, Class MJ licenses or learner’s permits, may have their licenses revoked for at least one year. 

For more information about suspended driver’s licenses in New York, please visit our traffic law page.

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