April is Distracted Driving Month

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April is Distracted Driving Month, when organizations and advocates nationwide raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving.

The National Safety Council calls distracted driving an epidemic, noting it causes more than 3,000 deaths and 400,000 injuries in the United States each year. Almost 80% of crashes and 65% of near-crashes involved a driver looking away from the forward roadway for two seconds or more before the crash. 

As a New York personal injury law firm, we’ve seen the devastating consequences of distracted driving firsthand.

What is distracted driving?

Distracted driving is any activity that takes a driver’s attention away from the road. These activities could include:

  • Texting
  • Talking on the phone
  • Eating
  • Drinking
  • Grooming
  • Adjusting the radio
  • Using navigation systems

While many people believe they can multi-task while driving, the truth is any type of distraction can increase your risk of an accident.

Is distracted driving illegal in New York?  

In New York, using a hand-held mobile telephone or portable electronic device is illegal while driving. The use of a hand-held device includes talking, texting, browsing, playing games, taking photos, or viewing photos.

It also involves programming a map route or GPS. Do that while you’re pulled over and while the car is off. 

If you are ticketed for this violation, you’ll receive 5 driver violation points and a fine of up to $100. The penalties are more severe for commercial drivers.

You might notice that the law leaves out many other types of distracted driving. An officer won’t ticket you for adjusting the radio or drinking coffee on the road. Nevertheless, you should be careful about engaging in these types of behaviors. If you’re involved in a car accident in New York, these behaviors could increase your contributory negligence percentages and decrease the amount of any potential injury settlement you might receive.

Involved in an injury with a distracted driver?

If your accident meets the “serious injury” threshold outlined in New York’s no-fault laws, then you may be able to seek compensation for your injuries and other damages, including pain and suffering.

If your injuries don’t meet the threshold, your own insurance company will generally cover your damages. Remember that illegal distracted driving may fall under auto policy exclusions, and they may refuse the claim if they have evidence you were texting while driving, even if you don’t get a ticket. 

Get Help Today

During April or any other month of the year, RLF helps injury victims receive just compensation.

If you’ve been injured in an accident, contact us for help. We’ll look at all the facts of your case and will help you determine the best way to proceed.

See also:

Myths and Truths About Personal Injury Cases in New York

Understanding the Serious Injury Threshold in New York City

How are Pain and Suffering Calculated in NYC?


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