Car Accidents Resulting From Cell Phone Use

The use of hand held cell phones while driving is a significant safety issue throughout the Unites States. Motorists are increasingly using their hand held cell phones while driving to send or receive texts and emails, and make phone calls, a huge factor in the epidemic of distracted driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has called for a nationwide prohibition against cell phone usage and text messaging while driving. The NHTSA notes that over 3,000 people die in distracted driving accidents each year in the United States, and clearly cell phone usage is often a primary factor in these fatal accidents.

At The Law Offices of Mark A. Siesel in White Plains, our attorneys have been representing an increasing number of victims of distracted driving accidents. It is vital that the attorney you retain to represent you in your personal injury case has the necessary experience and background in these cases to obtain the maximum possible compensation for your injuries.

In New York, prior to 2012, texting while driving was a “secondary offense”, meaning that unless an officer observed the motorist committing another traffic infraction, such as speeding, following too closely, or disregarding a traffic control device, the driver could not be ticketed for the texting while driving offense. This safety lapse was addressed by the New York State Legislature and the Governor in July of 2011, when texting while driving became a primary offense, so that after that date, a police officer can give a ticket for texting while driving without any other infraction as the basis. Additionally, as of July 12, 2011, drivers convicted of driving with a hand held cell phone will be assessed 3 points on their license, and be required to pay a fine of up to $100.00 and mandatory New York State surcharge of $85.00. A motorist convicted of texting of e-mailing while driving will be fined up to $150.00, face a mandatory surcharge of $85.00 and be assessed 3 points on his or her driver’s license. Eleven points in an 18 month period results in a suspended license.

The electronic device prohibition is in fact broader than simply sending texts or emails while driving. Illegal activity under this statute includes: “composing, sending, reading, accessing, browsing, transmitting, saving or retrieving electronic data such as emails, text messages or web pages, viewing, taking or transmitting images, and playing games.”

There is an exception to New York’s hand held cell phone law under Section 1225-c of the Vehicle & Traffic Law for emergencies, in the event that a driver is trying to reach police, fire or emergency personnel to report an accident or to obtain medical treatment. As of January 26, 2010, the U.S. Department of Transportation implemented a federal ban on texting, prohibiting all truck and bus drivers from using a cell phone to send texts or emails while operating a commercial vehicle. A truck or bus driver convicted of this offense is subject to civil penalties of up to $2,750.00.

Contact The Law Offices of Mark A. Siesel online or toll free if you or a loved one suffer injuries in car accident for a free consultation with one of our experienced litigators to discuss your case in detail.