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What is New York’s law regarding cell phone use while driving?

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Mobile devices are integral to daily life, even for travel, as people use them to plan routes, purchase parking and handle related activities. Most states impose restrictions on using such devices while operating a vehicle.

Drivers should understand the regulations and penalties regarding cell phone use in New York.

New York’s laws on distracted driving

New York prohibits distracted driving statewide. Drivers must use hands-free settings if talking on a cell phone. Playing games, texting, taking photos or watching videos is not permissible. Taxi drivers may not use cell phones, even in a hands-free setting.

Officials remind people that devices are not the only source of distraction. Anything that removes a person’s due attention from the road is dangerous and can incur liability in an accident or a ticket from an officer.

A person should not allow eating, conversation, physical reading material or another situation to cause a distraction. Drowsy driving is another danger that motorists should avoid.

Exceptions to the use of devices

Drivers of authorized emergency vehicles may use communications devices during their official duties. If a driver must call 911, a hospital or a physician to report an emergency, handheld cell phone use is allowable.

Many vehicles have electronic dashboard control panels, and drivers may operate these during a trip. Navigational and music apps are acceptable for use in a hands-free setting.

Distracted driving involves more than texting and could lead to a ticket or an accident. Reminders about the inherent dangers of automobile travel and how to avoid them can help everyone do their part to keep New York roads safe.

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