There is no disputing it, cellphone use and texting while driving is a growing epidemic on our roadways - and quickly becoming one of the deadliest habits among drivers. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, roughly 660,000 drivers can be found using their cellphones at any given daytime moment in the U.S. While many people may think their cellphone habits do not impact their driving, the truth is that this dangerous practice often results in injury, and sometimes death.
Given what is at stake, it is little surprise that lawmakers are constantly trying to make roadways safer by increasing cellphone restrictions for drivers - even in states that already have tough laws, including New York.
New York cellphone laws: the basics
In New York, it is already illegal for drivers to use any portable electronic device, including cellphones, while their vehicle is in motion. This means a driver cannot talk on a handheld phone, text or take pictures while behind the wheel.
However, despite these existing laws, lawmakers have not stopped trying to make the roads even safer. In fact, so far in 2015 there have already been eight bills introduced that seek to alter or amend the state's texting-while-driving laws. Some of the proposed changes include:
- The requirement that all cellphone manufacturers place restrictions on their phones to prevent the phones from being able to text while the owner is operating a motor vehicle
- The expressed clarification that drivers stopped in traffic or at a stop light are still considered in motion under the law, and therefore cannot text
- The ban on head-mounted or wearable devices, including Google Glass
While many of these bills have yet to go anywhere, they do illustrate that lawmakers are still trying to improve highway safety and reduce fatal car accidents. If a distracted driver has injured you or a loved one, it is often best to seek experienced legal counsel as soon as possible.