New York’s law requires some revamping in view of the explosion of texting, apps, and emails on cell phones. The State should look into upping the penalties.

It is illegal to drive while holding an electronic device and:

  • Writing, reading, sending, and browsing emails, texts, and web pages
  • Viewing or transmitting images, such as taking photos while driving
  • Playing games

See Vehicle and Traffic Law sec. 1225-c.

The penalty is a fine up to $150 and 3 driver penalty points.

A policeman may stop you if he sees you using a cell phone. The exceptions allowing cell phone use are cell phones attached to the dashboard (a so-called “hands-free” phone), GPS devices installed in the dashboard, and the use of a cell phone to call-in an emergency.

There has been an increase in the use of cell phones, texting, and apps. The cell phone is an essential part of the rider-share-app industry. The legislature should look to increasing the penalties to encourage safer driving.