||Distracted Driving, Talking & Texting
Stop the Texts. Stop the Wrecks.
See the "NO PHONE ZONE" Campaign and a Distracted Driving Commercial at http://www.distraction.gov.
NEW — New law effective July 12, 2011 updates the law on cell phone / electronic device use while driving. It is illegal for drivers to use handheld electronic devices while their vehicle is in motion, cell phone use requires a hands-free device. State regulations will be changed so that 3 driver penalty points will be assessed for this violation and the fine is up to $150. It is a primary offence, an officer may stop you if you are observed using a handheld device while driving.
New York prohibits all drivers from using portable electronic devices.
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 penalty for a violation of this law shall be a fine of up to $150 and 3 driver penalty points. It is a primary law, which means an officer may stop you if you are observed using a hand held device. The law does not penalize drivers using a handheld electronic device that is affixed to a vehicle surface or using a GPS device that is attached to the vehicle, or if drivers are using a handheld device to report an emergency to the authorities.
The law defines the following terms as:
(a) "Portable electronic device" shall mean any hand-held mobile telephone, as defined by subdivision one of section twelve hundred twenty-five-c of this article, personal digital assistant (PDA), handheld device with mobile data access, laptop computer, pager, broadband personal communication device, two-way messaging device, electronic game, or portable computing device.
(b) "Using" shall mean holding a portable electronic device while viewing, taking or transmitting images, playing games, or composing, sending, reading, viewing, accessing, browsing, transmitting, saving or retrieving e-mail, text messages, or other electronic data.
According to Merriam Webster, to DISTRACT is "to draw or direct (as one's attention) to a different object or in different directions at the same time." Any time a driver's attention is drawn away from the task of driving in a safe and defensive manner can be labeled as distracted driving. These distractions can be personal, external or internal.
Personal distractions can occur when the driver is impaired by daydreaming, alcohol, drugs, fatigue or unsafe practices like reading, writing, shaving, applying makeup or using electronic devices such as computers, cell phones, iPods or GPS navigation systems.
Internal distractions occur inside the car, caused by passengers, animals or objects inside the vehicle.
External distractions occur outside the car like other motorists, inclement weather, deteriorated road conditions, or even the scenery.
When these distractions occur behind the wheel of a motor vehicle the consequences can be far reaching or even deadly.
According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in a report created in April 2006 entitled, The Impact of Driver Inattention On Near-Crash/Crash Risk: An Analysis Using the 100-Car Naturalistic Driving Study Data, driver inattention was defined for this report as one of the following:
- Driver engagement in secondary tasks (those tasks not necessary to the primary task of driving)
- Driver drowsiness
- Driving-related inattention to the forward roadway
- Non-specific eye glance away from the forward roadway
This study also listed "Driver Inattention" as the primary contributing factor to crashes and near crashes. Almost 80% of crashes and 65% of near crashes in this study involved the driver looking away from the forward roadway just prior to the conflict.
- Looking away for two or more seconds will double the risk of a crash or near crash.
- Driver inattention due to drowsiness will increase the risk of a crash or near crash by at least four times.
- A driver who is engaged in a secondary task while driving also increases their risk factor.
- The following actions: talking, listening or dialing a hand held device; inserting or retrieving a compact disc; operating a PDA; reading, applying makeup or eating will increase the driver risk factor of a crash or near crash by two to three times.
Of late, the most frequent form of distraction while driving has been due to cell phone use and texting.
It was in a two-day summit on distracted driving in Washington D.C. in which DOT Secretary, Ray LaHood, referred to Distracted Driving as an "epidemic."
ATTENTION: All Commercial Motor Vehicle Drivers:
Please note the Federal Ban on Texting for Commercial Truck and Bus Drivers which was announced by the U.S. Transportation Secretary, Ray LaHood. The ban is on the use cell phones to text while driving a commercial vehicle. The prohibition, which took effect on January 26, 2010, is the first step towards the safety of commercial drivers and motorists who share the road with them.
Those truck and bus drivers who are convicted of texting while driving commercial vehicles may be subject to civil or criminal penalties of up to $2,750.
The regulatory guidance on the texting ban for commercial truck and bus drivers is on public display in the Federal Register and available in printed form in the Federal Register.
The public can follow the progress of the U.S. Department of Transportation in working to combat distracted driving and a distracted driving commercial at www.distraction.gov.
NEW YORK STATE'S CELLULAR PHONE LAW
Use of a hand-held cellular telephone to engage in a call while driving is prohibited in New York State, pursuant to Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 1225c. This law became effective December 1, 2001 violators may be issued a ticket for a traffic infraction, resulting in a fine of up to $150.
- When the driver uses a hands-free mobile telephone, which allows the user to communicate without the use of either hand.
- When the purpose of the phone call is to communicate an emergency to a police or fire department, a hospital or physician's office, or an ambulance corps.
- When operating an authorized emergency vehicle in the performance of official duties.
Please remember that 911 is for emergencies only.
Dialing 911 is a free call for cellular subscribers. Police and EMS officials say that in many cases response times have been cut, criminals have been apprehended and lives have been saved due to calls from cellular phone users.
Related Sites & Sources
US DOT's Distracted Driving Site
Distracted Driving from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety