Earlier this month, New York State police cracked down on cell phone use and distracted driving, issuing more than 15,000 tickets in one week. Across the state, law enforcement agencies are taking a close look at distracted driving, and taking steps to prevent it. This means that more tickets could be issued, and you could get one if you are not careful.
Why are there more tickets now?
A study of 2015 accidents in New York showed that 150 fatal car accidents were the result of driver distraction. As a result, law enforcement is issuing more tickets to drivers who are using their cell phones behind the wheel. Statistics show that cell phone use is highest among 16-24 year olds. For this reason, law enforcement may choose to target college students on the road.
Prevent a ticket for cell phone use
To avoid a ticket, be sure to put away all handheld mobile devices while you drive. In New York, it is illegal to talk, text, take pictures or play games on a handheld device while driving. If you are waiting for an important text or message, pull over to check your phone wo you can avoid getting a ticket.
If you get a ticket for using your phone
The penalties you face will vary depending on your driving record. For a first offense, you may face a fine of $50-$200. If you have three or more tickets within an 18-month period, you could face up to $450 in fines.
It may be possible to contest your ticket or have the ticket reduced to a lesser offense. First, you should follow the instructions on your ticket right away to appeal your ticket. Your ticket will also include information about the court that will handle your case. However, if you work with an experienced defense lawyer, you may not even need to appear in court yourself. An attorney can appear on your behalf, and a local lawyer will have the knowledge and insight to help you contest your ticket.