There are certain driving behaviors that people know are unsafe. These actions often feature prominently in driver’s education programs and may also be a focal point for public awareness campaigns. Drunk driving is a perfect example. The dangers of drunk driving are unquestionably taught during driver’s education courses, and there are billboards, radio ads and other public awareness campaigns constantly running to alert New York drivers to the degree of risk involved in getting behind the wheel after drinking.
Despite widespread awareness, people keep driving drunk. The same is true of distracted driving. Distracted driving has become a major safety concern in the last decade. While drivers have always let conversations, personal grooming and food distract them at the wheel, digital distractions such as mobile phones and GPS devices have become some of the greatest hazards that road travelers contend with on a regular basis.
How New York handles distracted driving claims
Distracted driving is a serious enough safety concern to warrant a traffic stop all on its own. It is a primary traffic offense, meaning officers don’t need any reason other than suspicion of distraction at the wheel to conduct a traffic stop. An officer can issue a citation for the use of a mobile device, and the fine someone pays will depend on how many prior offenses they have had. The minimum fine is $50, but motorists may have to pay as much as $450 in fines if they have three or more offenses within 18 months. Even a first offense can lead to a $200 ticket and a $93 surcharge.
A defense is often possible
There are multiple ways in which New York motorists could defend against distracted driving allegations. They may even have evidence to help them fight their charges in some cases. Mobile phone service records and inward-facing dashboard camera footage are both examples of evidence that could show someone didn’t misuse a digital device while in control of a vehicle.
The exact situation that led to a driver’s citation will influence their strongest approach to mounting a defense to a New York ticket. Fighting back against distracted driving tickets with the assistance of a legal professional can help people avoid fines and also increased insurance premiums that could cost them hundreds or thousands of dollars over time.