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Bill would make texting at red lights a traffic violation


New York State drivers who have grown accustomed to sneaking looks at their smartphone or other devices when behind the wheel will undoubtedly know that they could place themselves in jeopardy of receiving a citation for a traffic violation. Law enforcement is out in force trying to hammer home the point that distracted driving is dangerous. With that will come penalties, including a fine. An understated issue when cited for a cellphone violation is the points that will be on the driver's record. This can raise insurance rates and, if there are enough points accrued, result in a driver's license suspension. Formulating a defense against these allegations is crucial.

Another important part of a citation for a handheld device is the possibility of new laws being enacted. One that has been proposed will close a so-called loophole that allows drivers to text while they are stopped at a red light. Law enforcement has long sought to put a stop to the freedom for drivers to use their devices when stopped at a red light. Should this law be enacted, more tickets will be issued and the accompanying penalties can be problematic for drivers.

It is currently against the law for drivers to use their phones while driving in New York. Courts have not had a clear opinion on that extending to drivers stopped at red lights. With this bill, the simple act of the key being in the ignition means that drivers cannot text. Since a poll showed that more than 50 percent of people from 18 to 44 admit to texting at a red light and 40 percent of those 45 to 65 also admitted it, this is perceived as a problem on the road.

While this law is only in its early stages, drivers need not worry about it yet, but it does shine a light on the concerns that law enforcement has and the risk drivers will face at being cited, paying fines and facing the other penalties for distracted driving violations. When confronted with allegations of traffic violations with a handheld device, a legal defense can be imperative. Calling a lawyer for help is the first step.

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