You can do pretty much anything on your cell phone. From phone calls to texting, browsing the web, playing games, watching videos, and more, those rectangular black screens in our pockets and purses hold infinite possibilities.
While there’s so much we can do on our phones, laws in New York make most of it illegal to do while driving. The consequence for getting caught by a police officer will probably be a traffic ticket and fine that could be as much as $400.
Laws against using cell phones in our cars are anything but arbitrary, though. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), as many as 3,142 people died in the U.S. during 2019 as a result of cell phone-related distracted driving.
The NHTSA also states that averting your eyes from the road for only five seconds while going 55 mph is enough time to cover the length of a football field – imagine a crossing pedestrian or stopped car anywhere along that football field, and it begins to make sense why laws were created to curtail the use of cell phones among drivers.
Still, it begs the question: Is there anything I can do on my cell phone in my car?
Permitted Cell Phone Activities While Driving
It’s much easier to address what can be done on a cell phone while driving than what can’t be done. This is because there are far fewer permitted activities than prohibited ones.
Here’s what you can do on your phone while driving:
- Talk using a hands-free device that lets you keep both hands on the wheel
- Make an emergency phone call – by emergency, we mean 9-1-1 or another emergency service, like poison control
- Use an app that displays maps or driving directions, but only if the phone is mounted to the vehicle and not held in the driver’s hand.
As you can see, the list of what you can legally do on a cell phone while driving is rather sparse. If you believe you received a cell phone ticket in error due to the circumstances of your situation, please reach out to Stites Law for assistance.
We offer free case evaluations, personalized support, and a stellar reputation among our peers and previous clients.