All it takes is a moment of distraction for a deadly accident to occur — but far too many drivers still allow themselves to be distracted behind the wheel.
This is why various states have come up with laws to curb driver distraction, especially that which arises from drivers using mobile phones while driving. Here is what New York laws say.
Use of a cell phone while driving is illegal
Under state laws, you cannot use a handheld device while driving. Such use is not limited to texting or calling. Taking pictures, checking emails, or playing games on your phone is also against the law. However, there are a few exceptions, such as using hands-free devices or calls made for emergency purposes.
The penalties for violating these rules include fines or a suspension of your driving license, depending on the number of previous offenses.
Reducing the risk of distracted driving
Distractions behind the wheel fall into four broad categories: Visual, manual, auditory or cognitive. Using a phone can involve all of these, and the consequences can be disastrous. Therefore, for your safety and that of other motorists, you should not use your phone at all when driving. If you have to send a text or make a call, make use of existing technology that does not involve a lot of effort on your part or pull over at a safe location.
When you’re in an accident with a distracted driver
If a negligent driver caused an accident in which you suffered injuries because they were distracted by their phone, you ought to hold them accountable. You shouldn’t have to cover the losses you suffered from their mistake.
For proof, it may be possible to subpoena phone records that show the exact time the other driver was texting or on a call. In addition, witness testimony or accident reconstruction specialists can also provide reliable evidence that can help you assert your rights after a wreck.