After swerving to avoid being hit by a driver that was too busy looking at their phone to notice you, you may be wondering what the law says about texting or talking on the phone while driving in New York. Handheld device use is not only illegal in New York, it is a primary offense, meaning drivers can be pulled over for it. For drivers under 21 years old, a first offense results in a 120-day license suspension. Older drivers can face suspension for repeat violations within and 18-month period.
Handheld Device Use in New York
The law applies to any handheld device use while driving. This includes phones, laptops, pagers, and video game consoles and more. Prohibited activities include, but are not limited to texting, talking on the phone, watching videos, and playing video games. There is an exception for using a device to contact emergency services.
Penalties for Cell Phone and Device Use
Handheld device use can lead to license suspension pretty quickly in New York. A first offense carries the following penalties:
- $50 to $200 fine
- Surcharge up to $93
- Five driver violation points
For a second violation, the fine can be as high as $250 and for a third or subsequent, the fine can be a maximum of $450.
Driver’s license suspension come into play with the violation points. Drivers over 21 years old, who rack up 11 or more points in an 18-month period can face suspension. Younger drivers face suspension on the first cell phone offense and a one-year revocation for a second offense.