There is a new campaign in Chappaqua, NY to keep drivers off their phones; Hands Off the Phone and On the Wheel. New Castle police officers issued 135 tickets to drivers caught using a handheld electronic device. These tickets come with hefty points, fines and consequences. NY has strict laws when it comes to hand held devices while driving.

New York prohibits all drivers from using portable electronic devices.

Illegal activity includes holding a portable electronic device and:

Talking on a hand-held mobile telephone
Composing, sending, reading, accessing, browsing, transmitting, saving, or retrieving electronic data such as e-mail, text messages, or web-pages
Viewing, taking, or transmitting images
Playing games

It is an automatic 5 points on your license if you are caught using a hand held device while driving.

The fines are:
For a first offense, $50 to $200
For a second offense committed within 18 months, $50 to $250
For a third or subsequent offense committed within 18 months, $50 to $450

On November 1, 2014, the following changes to the cell phone/texting laws for drivers with a probationary license, Class DJ, Class MJ or a learner permit take effect (for cell phone and texting violations committed on or after November 1, 2014):
Conviction will result in a mandatory 120-day driver license or permit suspension.
Subsequent convictions within six months of a license restoration will result in a a revocation of at least one year of a probationary license, junior license or learner permit.

There are exceptions however:
Exceptions to the Laws

When the driver uses a hands-free mobile telephone, which allows the user to communicate without the use of either hand.
Using a handheld electronic device that is affixed to a vehicle surface.
Using a GPS device that is attached to the vehicle.
When the purpose of the phone call is to communicate an emergency to a police or fire department, a hospital or physician’s office, or an ambulance corps.
When operating an authorized emergency vehicle in the performance of official duties.

Although there are exceptions to the law it is still better to wait to use a phone till you are stopped. Recent studies have shown that, even using hands free, talking on the phone causes distraction and that leads to accidents. One has to ask how important is it? As always DRIVE SAFE!!!

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