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Limiting the Lure of the Screen: Simple Tips to Stop Texting While Driving

Texting while driving is a significant hazard on the road, posing severe risks to the driver and others. The momentary distraction of reading or replying to a message can lead to delayed reaction times, impaired judgment, and, ultimately, accidents. The consequences of these distracted driving incidents can be severe, ranging from minor vehicle damage to catastrophic injuries or fatalities.

New York law prohibits all drivers from using portable electronic devices while operating a vehicle. Illegal activities include holding a handheld device, composing, sending, reading, accessing, browsing, transmitting, saving, or retrieving electronic data such as email, text messages, or webpages. A conviction can lead to fines, points added to the driver’s license, and increased insurance rates, among other penalties.

This blog post offers practical tips to help drivers avoid texting while behind the wheel, avoiding potential accidents and legal issues. Additionally, legal recourse is available for those who have already been ticketed for texting while driving. An experienced attorney can provide crucial assistance to challenge the citation.

At Martin A. Kron & Associates, P.C., we are skilled in traffic ticket defense. Call us at (212) 235-1525 or reach out online for more information and to schedule a consultation.

Why Is Texting While Driving Dangerous?

Texting while driving is considered dangerous, primarily due to the significant distraction it causes. When drivers text, their attention shifts from the road to their mobile devices, blinding them to their surroundings. This cognitive, visual, and manual distraction involves taking one's eyes off the road (visual), hands off the steering wheel (manual), and mind off driving (cognitive), which dramatically increases the risk of collision.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distraction-related accidents led to 3,308 fatalities in 2022 alone. The NHTSA has identified texting as particularly hazardous among various driving distractions. Typically, a driver who reads or sends a text message takes their eyes off the road for about five seconds. At highway speeds, this is equivalent to driving the length of a football field blindfolded.

Simple Tips to Avoid Texting While Driving

In today's connected world, the urge to stay in touch can often lead to dangerous texting behaviors while driving. However, several practical strategies can help drivers resist this temptation, combining modern technology with simple behavioral changes.

Below are some actions drivers can take:

  • Using blocking apps. Many apps can help prevent texting while driving by blocking incoming calls and texts. These apps deactivate texting features when they detect the car is in motion, ensuring the driver’s focus remains on the road.
  • Sending automatic replies. Setting up automatic replies is another effective method to manage communications while driving. These features, often built into smartphones or available through third-party apps, can send messages to callers and texters, informing them that you are driving and will respond later.
  • Storing phones out of reach. One of the simplest ways to avoid texting while driving is to keep your mobile device out of reach, such as in the glove box or back seat. This physical barrier prevents spontaneous checking of texts or emails, thereby reducing distractions.
  • Safe stopping for urgent communication. Drivers anticipating a message or a call requiring immediate attention should plan to pull over safely before checking their phones. This practice allows urgent communications to be handled without compromising safety.
  • Communicating driving schedules. Inform frequent contacts of driving times if they typically expect quick responses. This preemptive communication can decrease their need to reach out while the individual is on the road.
  • Pre-setting navigation and entertainment. Before starting the trip, set up GPS and entertainment options like music playlists or audiobooks. Handling these tasks while parked helps avoid the temptation to adjust devices while driving.

Legal Consequences of Texting While Driving in New York

Texting while driving in New York is governed by Section 1225-D of the Vehicle and Traffic Code. This statute prohibits drivers from using portable electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets, and other handheld communication devices while the vehicle is in motion.

Violating the statute is a traffic infraction carrying penalties structured to escalate with repeat offenses:

  • First-time offense. $50 to $200 fine
  • Second-time offense (within 18 months). $50 to $250 fine
  • Third or subsequent offense (within 18 months). $50 to $450 fine

Alongside fines, offenders will receive five violation points on their driver’s license. Accumulating points can lead to higher insurance premiums and, with sufficient points, the potential suspension of the driver's license.

How Can a Traffic Ticket Attorney Help?

If faced with a texting while driving citation in New York, securing the services of a knowledgeable attorney can be crucial. Lawyers are well-versed in traffic laws and court procedures. They can efficiently handle filings, represent you in court, and communicate with judges and prosecutors on your behalf. Having a professional handle your case removes the stress and uncertainty of dealing with legal proceedings on your own.

Contact Martin A. Kron & Associates, P.C. at (212) 235-1525 to discuss your case.

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