Texting While Driving

Now A Primary Offense and 3 Points in New York

On July 12, 2011, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation into law that makes using a handheld electronic device while driving a primary offense in New York State.[1]  Effective immediately, this means that law enforcement officials may now stop any driver they see using a handheld electronic device.  Specifically, the law states that the illegal activity includes: holding an electronic device and composing, sending, reading, accessing, browsing, transmitting, saving, or retrieving electronic data such as e-mail, text messages, or webpages; viewing, taking, or transmitting images; or playing games.

            This new law strengthens the previous law that allowed police to ticket drivers using handheld devices only if they were initially stopped for some other primary offense, such as speeding.

            What this new law means for the average driver who might be ticketed and found guilty of texting while driving in New York is a hefty fine of up to $150, plus any surcharges, and 3 violation points on their license.  Simply getting two of these tickets within an 18 month span would cost a driver $300 for the tickets, plus an additional $300 Assessment Fee from the New York State DMV (for having 6 or more violation points).[2]  That’s over $600 dollars in fines, not to mention any possible increases in the driver’s insurance rates.

            In light of these hefty new penalties, drivers should seek legal representation for their traffic tickets, in order to minimize the penalties and consequences they might be facing.  The Law Office of Lorenzo Napolitano is experienced in representing motorists in all types of traffic matters.  I aggressively seek dismissals and reductions of charges, resulting in lower fines, less or no points, and less or no impact on your insurance rate.  Often, my clients never even have to go to court.  Call (585) 325-4445 for a free consultation today.

[1] The New York Times, New State Law Lets Police Stop Drivers for Texting, available at http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/13/nyregion/police-may-stop-drivers-for-texting-under-bill-signed-by-cuomo.html.

[2] New York State Department of Motor Vehicles website, Driver Responsibility Program, available at http://www.nydmv.state.ny.us/drp.htm