Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed a new law that strengthens the enforcement against drivers who use handheld electronic devices for activities such as texting while a vehicle is in motion. The legislation makes this action a primary traffic offense, giving law enforcement the power to stop drivers solely for engaging in this activity.
The Governor also announced today that he will increase the penalty for using a cellular phone without a hands-free device or a handheld device while driving from two to three points through changes in state regulations.
The new law makes it a primary traffic offense and it will go into effect immediately. The monetary penalty for a violation of this law continues to be a fine of up to $150.
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
- Playing games
The law does not penalize drivers using a handheld electronic device that is affixed to a surface or using a GPS device that is attached to the vehicle. The law also exempts police officers, fire fighters, or emergency vehicle drivers while they are performing their duties. In addition, a driver is exempt from the law if the driver is communicating or attempting to communicate with law enforcement, the fire department, or medical personnel during an emergency situation.
- With Plenty of Fanfare, Cuomo Toughens New York’s Distracted Driving Law(streetsblog.org)
- Texting And Driving In New York (Finally) Made Illegal (nytrafficticket.com)