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What Constitutes Distracted Driving In New York?

Distracted driving is a broad term that is used to describe any type of activity that has the potential to take away a driver’s attention from his or her primary duty, which is to safely operate his or her vehicle. Distracted driving is considered any activity that could force drivers to divert their eyes from the road or take away from their mental concentration while they are driving.

While some acts of distracted driving, such as putting on make-up or attempting to shave while driving are clearly a form of distracted driving, there are other types of distractions that are illegal in New York that may not seem quite as obvious. As an example, the state of New York prohibits drivers from talking on handheld mobile devices unless they use hands-free technology, such as a BlueTooth or speak on their phone through the audio system in their vehicle. This same law also covers more obvious actions of distraction that involve mobile devices and makes it illegal to text, view images, play games or even save or retrieve electronic data.

Since these activities are not only distracting but also illegal, individuals who are observed participating in this type of distracted driving could find themselves not only receiving a traffic ticket, but could find themselves liable for accidents or injuries that occur due to the distraction. In example – if it is found during an investigation that an individual was texting near or when an accident occurred, they could be found guilty of negligence or recklessness.

Individuals who are facing charges or lawsuits due to distracted driving may find it beneficial to understand their rights to ensure that they are legally protected.

Source: SafeNY, “Distracted Driving, Talking & Texting” accessed Mar. 24, 2015

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