Texting and Driving

These days if you are not living under a rock, you have a cellphone. Most Americans have some sort of cellphone. As cellular phones have progressed from the twelve button flip phones of the past to the pocket computers they are now, the tasks that cellphones can perform have expanded exponentially; also increasing the chances of using a device behind the wheel. Most states have been proactive in creating legislation and policies to combat texting and driving.

Bill against Texting and Driving

Recently, Florida has begun to take a stand against drivers’ cell phone use. Two separate bills are being submitted to the state legislature; the first bill designates the use of a mobile device as a cause for pull over, and the second specifically targets younger drivers. Although five states have either no repercussions or small punishments for cellphone use at the wheel, New York has been developing laws for over a decade.

In 2001, New York State became the first state to ban the use of a handheld device while driving. Because of the technology available at the time, the first piece of legislation targeting the use of cellphones while operating the use of a motor vehicle only considered talking while driving. An individual thought to be talking on the cellular device would be stopped and issued a ticket. Since the technology of mobile phones has progressed, so has legislation aimed at preventing their use.

Fining to Stop Drivers

By 2009, following the rise of text messaging, New York implemented policies that would fine drivers up to $150 for using their mobile phones while driving. At the time, breaking this law would also result in three points on your driver’s license. As of November 1st, 2014, any use of a handheld electronic device in a vehicle is a serious driving offense and if convicted carries five points. With these punishments in mind, eleven driver violation points may result in a suspension of a license. Currently, a third-time offender could see a maximum fine of $450.

Introducing the “Textalyzer”

In an attempt to strengthen enforcement and to deter users, legislators have looked to a creative solution. Evan’s Law, a bill that demands the use of a device known as the ‘Textalyzer’. This device bypasses various locks and encryptions on an individual’s cellphone to look for recent usage. The ‘Textalyzer’ will be utilized by responding officers after an accident to quickly discover if a cellphone was in use around the time of the accident. This process would help determine if the cause of the accident was a result of the driver being distracted by cellphone usage. Lawmakers are hoping this bill will help combat the rise of car accident fatalities. It was estimated that 2015 saw approximately, an eight percent increase in motor accident resultant deaths. Opponents to the ‘Textalyzer’ are outraged how the device will violate privacy, but proponents believe that the ‘Textalyzer’s’ existence, coupled with stiff penalties, will dissuade drivers from cellphone usage while driving.

With or without the “Textalyzer,” there are plenty of reason to abstain from cellphone usage while driving. The five points on your driving license could impact your insurance or you’re your ability to drive. If you or someone you know has been issued a traffic ticket be sure to consult an experienced lawyer. At Team Green Lawyers we know how to help, call us and you will see what a difference our experience makes.

Sources:

https://www.wesh.com/article/texting-while-driving-could-become-primary-offense-in-florida/8537363

http://www.nytimes.com/2001/06/26/nyregion/new-york-to-be-first-state-to-ban-holding-cell-phone-while-driving.html

https://dmv.ny.gov/tickets/cell-phone-use-texting

http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2016/04/proposed_ny_law_lets_police_to_check_drivers_cell_phones_after_crashes.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/28/science/driving-texting-safety-textalyzer.html?_r=0