TranslateEspanol    

Call for No-Obligation Case Review: (516) 437-7300


Archive for June 30th, 2011

Posted on June 30th, 2011

Texting While Driving Prompts Call for New Legislation in New York

Maybe you know someone who does it. Maybe you’ve done it yourself at times. Perhaps you’ve warned your teenagers not to but wonder if they heeded your advice. Regardless of the circumstances, the fact remains that texting while driving in New York is illegal and has been since 2009, when Governor Paterson signed a bill that said drivers in NY could no longer read or send pictures or text messages from any handheld device (including a laptop) while operating their vehicle.

 

Though the New York law carries a $150 fine, officials and others say it has been hard to enforce because it was dubbed a “secondary violation.” In other words, the driver has to be stopped for some other infraction and “caught” texting in order to be fined. However, the NY legislature has recently proposed changing texting to a “primary violation”, which allows police officers to stop someone whom they believe to be texting or reading a message. In return, drivers who are issued a citation will get 3 penalty points for each incidence if Governor Andrew Cuomo’s new version of the law is passed.

 

Looking at national statistics, it’s easy to understand why The Empire State adopted the original 2009 bill and is pushing for the new legislation. In 2009, “distracted” drivers caused the death of 5,500 people on America’s roadways. And those are only the incidents that were confirmed as involving texting or other cellular telephone operation.

 

Experts estimate there were probably hundreds more incidents that went undiscovered. In New York State alone, nearly 4,000 tickets were issued for texting while driving from the day of the inception of the law until March 2011, says the Department of Motor Vehicles. New York personal injury attorney, Harley Fastman, notes that as an experienced New York car accident attorney, he is seeing more and more texting-related cases as well.

 

The demographic most responsible for texting-related accidents – as one might suspect – has been teens and young adults, particular newer drivers who don’t yet have a grasp on what it truly takes to be a responsible driver. Fastman, who regularly deals with New York personal injury lawsuits, cites national statistics which state that about half of all drivers under the age of 18 admit to texting while driving. In a 2009 survey, some 61 percent also admitted to “risky driving behavior.”

 

Related studies, Harley Fastman notes, show that teens who text while driving typically reduce their reaction time to that of a 70 year-old driver. Furthermore, teens admit that texting is their number one distraction though many of them have elected not to cease the habit, driving with one hand on the wheel and their mind on the message they’re sending to their friend. Some admit they finally stop texting when they’ve had a close call. Others wait until it’s too late, says Fastman, who’s law firm practices car accident cases throughout New York including Manhattan, Bronx, Queens, Nassau, Brooklyn, Suffolk and Westchester.

 

If you’ve been involved in an auto accident involving a distracted driver, it’s important to investigate your legal options. For more information about your rights as an accident victim, call 516-437-7300 today or complete our Online Case Review Form.