Types of Distracted Driving
Many forms of distracted driving exist. Anything that removes a driver’s attention from the driving task could qualify as a form of distraction. This includes passengers, food and drink, personal grooming, GPS devices, radios, exterior distractions, and mental distractions. Today, cell phones are the most frequent cause of distracted driving accidents. Cell phones are so dangerous to drivers because they fulfill all three types of distracted driving, manual, visual, and cognitive.
- A driver needs both hands on the wheel to properly react to changing roadway situations. A manual distraction is anything that removes one or both of the driver’s hands from the wheel. They can include getting something from the passenger seat, fiddling with the radio, or holding a cell phone.
- Keeping both eyes on the road always is imperative for fast reaction times and the ability to prevent a collision. A visual distraction takes the driver’s eyes away from the road. Looking at passengers, electronic devices, or at roadside distractions such as a car accident or billboard could all cause an accident.
- A driver’s mind should always be on the task of operating the vehicle. Thinking about something else could delay reaction times and impair judgment. Cognitive distractions include ongoing or past conversations, emotions such as road rage, drowsy driving, or preoccupation with personal issues.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that reading or sending a single text message at 55 miles per hour removes a driver’s eyes from the road long enough to equal crossing a football field blindfolded. Cell phone use while driving has become such a pervasive problem that most states – New York included – have passed distracted driving laws specifically regarding talking and texting on an electronic device. Breaking the state’s cell phone laws and causing a distracted driving accident is negligence and may make the at-fault driver liable for damages.
New York Distracted Driving Laws
New York has several laws in place to help prevent distracted driving. The most prominent are the state’s mobile phone and portable electronic device laws. It is against the law for any driver to use a portable electronic device behind the wheel to talk, text, view or take photos, or play games. This includes composing and reading electronic data (such as texts, emails, or web pages), transmitting images, and talking on a handheld mobile phone.
Texting while driving is illegal for drivers of all ages in New York. Commercial drivers cannot make phone calls or interact with portable electronic devices at all while driving. The exceptions to New York’s cell phone laws include using a hands-free device, using a handheld device affixed to the vehicle, or using a phone to contact authorities in an emergency. The state’s cell phone laws are primary, meaning law enforcement does not need another reason to conduct a traffic stop.
Breaking the state’s distracted driving laws can result in five points on the driver’s license, as well as a fine that reflects the number of violations on the driver’s record. First offenses result in fines of $50 to $200. Second offenses within 18 months can yield fines of up to $250. Stricter penalties apply to learner’s permit drivers, who may face a 120-day license suspension. Subsequent convictions for novice drivers within six months will result in at least one year of license revocation.
If someone breaks the state’s distracted driving laws and causes a car accident, that person may be liable for damages. A personal injury claim for serious injuries could result in the at-fault driver’s insurance company compensating victims for their losses. Hiring an aggressive Long Island distracted driving accident lawyer can help crash victims go up against insurance agents and fight for fair compensation.
Schedule Your Free Consultation with a Long Island Distracted Driving Accident Attorney
The lawyers at Rosenberg & Gluck, LLP can help you after a distracted driving accident in Long Island, New York. We understand the related laws and have experience negotiating fair settlements with insurance companies. Our attorneys care about our clients and are committed to claim success. If a distracted driver caused your recent accident, serious personal injuries, or the death of a loved one, contact us for a free consultation. We can let you know if your case has merit and what it may be worth. Call (631) 451-7900 to request your case review today.