When it comes to distracted driving New York state legislators, the governor and local and state police have a zero tolerance attitude. State law specifically bans drivers from using any hand-held mobile telephone except to call 911 or to contact medical, fire or police personnel about an emergency.

For drivers who violate the law the penalties are swift and severe. Police have been empowered to stop motorists they see violating the law and can issue citations on the spot. Anyone who receives a traffic ticket for violating the law will pay a maximum fine of $100 and mandatory surcharges and fees of up to $85. For offenses committed on and after October 5, 2011, this violation also carries three driver violation points. You can visit a certified New York Traffic School to keep the points off your license, but you’re going to pay for the privilege, plus, you’ll still have to pay the fine.

According to the National Transportation Safety Board distracted driving is the leading cause of fatal traffic accidents in the United States, eclipsing even those crashes caused by driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. New York enacted their distracted driving law summer of last year, prior to the NTSB findings, but have since re-doubled their efforts, focusing on distracted driving.

And the state did not stop at cell phone use by drivers, they also included the more deadly serious offense of texting while driving.
New York State law now prohibits all drivers from using portable electronic devices, such as cell phones and smart phones, to send text messages or emails while driving. (Emails? People are sending emails while driving?!) The penalty for a violation of this law is a fine of up to $150 plus mandatory surcharges and fees of up to $85. Like the punishment for using a cell phone driving, this violation also carries three driver violation points.

If you’re planning on driving in New York state do yourself a favor and lock your cell phone in the glove box. The alternative, especially if you’re tempted to use it, just isn’t worth the risk.