New York cracking down on distracted drivers during the summer

Lawmakers have been targeting distracted drivers for a number of years. In 2013, Gov. Cuomo signed legislation that increased the penalties for distracted driving citations. Continuing the push to crack down on distracted driving, Gov. Cuomo announced that police would be putting out extra patrols to enforce the state's laws governing use of cell phones and portable electronic devices while driving during the summer of 2013.

Targeting distracted driving

New York's increased enforcement of distracted driving laws began over the Fourth of July weekend of 2013. The state dedicated $1 million to its efforts to catch drivers who use their phones behind the wheel. For the rest of the summer, police officers will be patrolling the roads in unmarked sport utility vehicles, called Concealed Identity Traffic Enforcement vehicles, that are equipped with special enhancements to help police catch people on their phones while driving. The vehicles have been designed to ride at higher levels than other automobiles on the road so that officers can look into other vehicles to see if drivers are using cell phones or other portable electronic devices.

Distracted driving penalties in New York

Citations for using cell phones or electronic devices can come with stiff penalties. As of June 1, 2013, drivers receive five points on their driving records for violating the state's cell phone use while driving laws. Drivers who accrue 11 points within 18 months face suspension of their driver's licenses.

Fines for these tickets increased on July 26, 2013. Fines for a first offense range from $50 to $150. A second offense results in a fine of $50 to $200, and the fine for a third offense can be from $50 to $400.

Additionally, those who have probationary licenses or learner permits automatically lose their driving privileges for 60 days if they receive a cell phone law violation citation. A second offense results in a six month revocation for those with probationary licenses and a 60 day revocation for those with Class DJ or MJ driver licenses or learner permits.

Fighting traffic tickets

Traffic tickets in New York can be more than a nuisance. Some people just pay the tickets and forget about them, but traffic tickets can lead to serious complications for people. Police are not always accurate when they give out citations. It is important for people to fight traffic tickets if they feel that police have issued tickets improperly. Those who have received traffic tickets should enlist the aid of an experienced traffic ticket attorney who can help mitigate the damage that traffic tickets can do.