New York state law prohibits drivers from using cell phones, smartphones or other handheld electronic devices while operating a motor vehicle.
Illegal use of a device includes talking on the phone, reading or composing messages and other electronic material, taking or viewing images and playing games on a smartphone.
Maximum fines and penalties
Using a phone while driving may result in a traffic ticket. If you receive a ticket from a New York law enforcement officer, you can expect to face the following penalties:
- First offense: $200 fine
- Second offense inside 18 months: $250 fine
- Subsequent offenses inside 18 months: $450 fine
- Five driver violation points added to driving record
An additional surcharge for each violation can cost up to $93.
The consequences are steeper for junior drivers with a Class DJ or MJ license. If you are a permit holder, a cell phone or mobile device violation will result in driver’s license suspension for 120 days. A second violation within six months of getting your license back can cause you to lose your probationary license or Class DJ or MJ license for one year.
Because cell phones are the modern preferred method of communication, you may need to use your phone when you are on the road from time to time. You can stay in touch with your family, friends and colleagues while following the law when you utilize New York’s special texting zones located along state highways. Additionally, protect yourself by understanding your rights as a citizen and motorist.