Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Ithaca Lawyer Reports New 5 Point Violations for Cell Phone, Texting, and Electronic Device While Driving

Dangerous Devices to Use While Driving in New York

Well the big news this weeks is the surprise from our own Governor Cuomo. You can still use a phone and even text while driving in many states. See map below.

Yellow States Still ALLOW Texting and Phone

The national trend is against ANY form of distracted driving via USE of ANY electronic device. New York is taking this all very seriously with these emergency measures, and wanting to put an end to what I consider to be "amateur" drivers.

Serious (High Point) Penalties and Consequences

1. Change to 5 Points for New York State violations of VTL 1225-c (use of a mobile telephone) and 1225-d (use of portable electronic devices) after June 1, 2013.

New York State already had laws against using a cell phone while driving, and texting while driving, and using any electronic devices while driving (think ipods, ipads, portable storage devices). For a short history lesson: It went from no points to five in less than two years. It was no points before February 2011, then 2 points in February 16, 2011, then 3 points in October 2011, NOW FIVE POINTS in June 2013.

2. This change will transform violations of VTL 1225-c and 1225-d into "high-point driving violations."

Now they are in the same category, and seriousness based on points as VTL 1212 Reckless Driving ( a five point misdemeanor), and VTL 1174 (a) failing to stop for a school bus.
For perspective this is more serious than VTL 375 (1) Inadequate Brakes on a truck (a 4 point misdemeanor).

3.  This change will also have significant consequences for those with prior "alcohol- or drug-related driving convictions or incidents" under the new 15 NYCRR Part 132 (dangerous repeat alcohol or drug offenders) and the recently amended Part 136 (Licensing or Relicensing After Revocation Action). Remember two serious traffic violations plus DWs and bye bye driver's license.

4. Added words = new definitions:

The law also adds to the definition of portable electronic device in VTL 1225-d (2) (a) "any other electronic device when used to input, write, send, receive, or read text for present or future communication." 

And the new term "using" is re-defined in 1225-d(2)(b) will be defined as "holding a portable electronic device while viewing, taking, or transmitting images, playing games, or, for the purpose of present or future communication: performing a command or request to access a world wide web page, composing, sending, reading, viewing, accessing, browsing, transmitting, saving or retrieving e-mail, text messages, instant messages, or other electronic data."

Bottom Line:

Don't look at or touch ANYTHING while driving except your steering wheel.

Lawrence (Larry) Newman, D.C., Esq.

Doctor of Chiropractic
Attorney and Counselor at Law