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Texting and driving can lead to a host of problems in New York

A survey released in May 2013 revealed that many people think that people who send text messages while driving should pay higher car insurance rates. Increased insurance rates are not the only problems drivers face if they send text messages while driving in New York. New York drivers should be aware of the state’s laws governing cell phone use while driving and the penalties they face for violating those laws.

People think texters should pay

CarInsurance.com commissioned a survey asking 1,000 drivers what rules they would establish to determine car insurance rates if they ran insurance companies. Of those surveyed, 72.9 percent said they would charge higher rates for a driver who used a cell phone to send text messages while driving than a driver who speeds, and 52.9 percent stated they would add an insurance surcharge for drivers who got tickets for cellphone use while driving.

New York’s cell phone use laws

It is illegal for drivers in New York to use a hand-held cell phone except to call 911 or other emergency response personnel to alert them of an emergency. It is also illegal to use portable electronic devices while driving in New York to send text messages or emails. Using a portable electronic device while driving is a primary offense in New York, so police officers may stop drivers if police see drivers using these items even if the driver has not violated any other traffic laws.

New York classifies cellphone tickets as moving violations, which do make drivers’ insurance rates rise. In addition to increased insurance rates, drivers face traffic tickets for using hand-held cell phones or sending text messages. The fine for using a hand-held cell phone while driving can be as high as $100, with an additional $85 in mandatory fees and surcharges. The maximum fine for sending text messages while driving is $150, along with up to $85 in mandatory fees and surcharges.

Cellphone violation tickets also rack up points on a driver’s record. As of June 1, 2013, using a hand-held cell phone or sending text messages while driving will result in five driver violation points on a person’s record. Drivers who earn 11 points within an 18 month time period face suspension of their licenses.

Talk to a lawyer

Traffic violations can be costly. Not only do tickets carry fines, but insurance rates may increase as well. Those who get too many tickets can also lose their ability to drive completely. If you have received a traffic ticket, speak with a skilled traffic ticket lawyer who can help you fight the citation and keep your driving record clean.

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