Distracted driving continues to threaten innocent NY motorists

NY enforces laws against talking and texting while driving; however, many people continue to do so, injuring and killing innocent motorists as a result.

The state of New York has had laws prohibiting texting and talking on hand-held cellphones while driving for quite some time. However, many New Yorkers continue to engage in this deadly practice on a daily basis. According to Democrat and Chronicle, the number of citations issued for texting and driving by law enforcement officers in Erie County alone has increased, from 4 tickets in 2009 to 1,896 tickets in 2013. More than 4,300 citations have been issued during the five-year period, with a 17 percent increase from 2012 to 2013. As more people continue to text and drive in New York, there is an increased risk of auto accidents occurring across the state.

The dangers of distracted driving

Nationwide, distracted driving took the lives of at least 3,328 people in 2012 and injured 421,000 more, according to distraction.gov. The official U.S. government website dedicated to distracted driving defines the practice as engaging in any activity that removes a driver's primary focus off of driving. There are three types of distractions, including:

  • Manual distractions cause a driver to remove their hands off of the steering wheel, and include reaching for a cellphone, dialing on a cellphone, eating, adjusting a radio station or even handing something to a backseat passenger.
  • Visual distractions urge a driver to remove their eyes off of the road. Tasks such as composing a text message, looking for something in the glove box or looking down to dial a phone number may be considered visual distractions.
  • Cognitive distractions remove a driver's mental focus off of driving, which is what happens when a motorist is engaged in a conversation using a hand-held or hands-free cellular device. It can also happen, to a lesser degree, when drivers are talking to other passengers in the vehicle. This is due to the human brain's inability to complete two complex tasks, such as talking and driving, simultaneously, according to the National Safety Council.

Although some tasks are deemed more dangerous because they involve two or more distractions, including texting and driving, all distractions pose a threat to the driver and to all other motorists on the road.

New York is taking action against distracted drivers

As the number of motorists who choose to use their cellphones while driving continues to grow in counties statewide, New York officials have taken action by increasing the fines for distracted driving. According to Time Warner Cable News, the revised penalties took effect on November 1, 2014. Younger drivers who are caught texting and driving may have their licenses revoked for a longer period of time as well.

Seek legal counsel

People who have been injured or who have suffered the loss of a loved one because of another driver's distracted driving behaviors should seek legal assistance from an established attorney. You may be entitled to receive compensation for any medical expenses, lost wages, property damage and emotional trauma that you have suffered as a result of a devastating car accident.

Keywords: distracted, driving, texting, accident, injury