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New York Drivers Face Hefty Penalties if Ticketed for Texting While Driving

Published August 7, 2012 by Scott Gottlieb, Injury Law Attorney

Our Binghamton car accident attorneys continue to provide information regarding the crackdown efforts of the NY law enforcement against texting drivers. While most people understand that texting while driving can be extremely dangerous, far too many continue to use their cellphones behind-the-wheel. According to government statistics, in 2010, the use of hand-held communication devices contributed to, or caused, more than 1.5 million accidents in the United States.

New York is one of many states that have banned texting while driving. New York drivers should be aware that a lot more than a fine is involved if they receive a texting-while-driving ticket – they should also consider the probability that their insurance rates will go up if they are caught texting while driving.

In the State of New York, the penalty for a driver caught texting or emailing is a $150 fine plus a mandatory surcharge up to $85 and three driver violation points. Those three points could ultimately cost you much more than the $235 in fines and fees.

Texting while driving is a primary offense in New York meaning that a law enforcement officer may stop you solely based on the belief that you are texting while driving. Other states allow an officer to cite you for texting while driving only if you are stopped for another reason first.

The New York Point System

New York operates on a point system with regard to your driver’s license. If you accrue 11 points or more during an 18-month period, the Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) will administratively suspend your driver’s license.

Insurance companies that provide liability insurance to drivers also operate on a point system; however, the two systems are not the same. Each individual insurance company may use a slightly different point system for determining how to rate a driver’s risk for the purpose of determining insurance rates and premiums. Regardless of how your insurance company computes its point system, one thing is certain —a conviction for driving while texting will not be viewed favorably when it comes time to renew your insurance policy.

“Any sort of dangerous driving which results in a driver being issued a moving violation is definitely frowned on by insurance companies,” says Mike Coleman, a State Farm agent in Alabama. Depending on your driving record, Coleman says, a ticket for texting could be grounds for a rate increase of 5 percent to 25 percent — or even nonrenewal of your policy. Drivers in New York have the opportunity to take a DMV-approved accident prevention course that will reduce the total driver violation points by four as well as saving a driver 10 percent on his or her liability insurance premiums.

Required Liability Insurance in New York

New York requires anyone who is a resident of the state to carry liability insurance in minimum amounts of 25/50/10. A driver must have a minimum of $25,000 in personal injury liability insurance if one person is injured, $50,000 for injuries to two or more victims, and $10,000 in property damage coverage. Operating a vehicle without the required state minimum levels, or allowing another person to do so, can result in a driver’s license suspension of one year.

Anyone hurt in a motor vehicle crash caused by the recklessness or negligence of the other driver should seek legal help right away. An experienced Binghamton car accident attorney can help an injured party file a claim and, especially, to fight the insurance company.

Contact a Personal Injury Attorney Today

Scott C. Gottlieb, Injury Law Attorney, is a Binghamton accident and injury law firm that handles all types of personal injury and motor vehicle accident cases, including cases involving drunk-driving accidents, wrongful death, cancer misdiagnosis, dog bites, hunting accidents, birth injuries, brain injuries, construction accidents, fall-down injuries and insurance settlements. The firm regularly employs accident reconstruction experts, investigators, photographers and economists to assist in evaluating and preparing personal injury cases.

For more information, call (800) Talk-Law or use the firm’s online contact form.

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