Global positioning systems, more commonly referred to as GPS, can make driving to unfamiliar locations safer and more convenient for drivers. Waze and other GPS navigation apps can offer up-to-date information on the fastest routes and the most direct access points to your destination. In the state of New York, however, it is illegal to drive while holding a GPS device or a cell phone in your hand.
Legal Restrictions on Handheld Devices
New York traffic law prohibits the use of handheld portable electronic devices by drivers. Violations may include the following:
- Talking on a cell phone
- Reading, composing or sending texts and emails
- Taking or sending pictures
- Playing games
- Consulting the GPS
Engaging in any of these activities while holding a cell phone constitutes a traffic violation and could result in a fine of up to $450, a one-year revocation of a probationary license and five driver violation points against your license.
Using GPS Safely
New York allows for the hands-free use of GPS and cell phones that have been affixed or attached to the vehicle. In most cases, these devices cannot be secured directly to the windshield because of the danger that they will obstruct the view of the driver. However, they can generally be attached to the dashboard
Stricter Regulations for Commercial Drivers
Commercial drivers must adhere to stricter guidelines on the use of cell phones and other mobile devices. Regulations went into effect on October 28, 2013, that state that motor carriers can neither require nor allow their employees to use mobile devices while driving. Other provisions of these regulations include the following:
- Commercial drivers cannot use a cell phone or other mobile device while stopped at a traffic light or during a temporary traffic delay.
- Devices will not be classified as hands-free if they require more than one single push of a button to answer or activate.
- Commercial drivers who hold a phone to their ear or hold it in a conspicuous manner will be presumed to be in violation of the traffic regulations.
These added regulations are necessary because of the larger size and greater risks involved in accidents with big rigs, delivery trucks and buses. By reducing the chance that drivers of these vehicles will be distracted behind the wheel, the state of New York is attempting to protect public safety.
Preventing Distracted Driving
Making sure that your use of GPS devices does not distract you from the traffic ahead can help you stay safer on the road. In some cases, it may be more practical to check out your route before heading out to your destination. This can sometimes reduce the need to consult with Waze or other GPS devices while your trip is underway.
At the Law Offices of Isaac Abraham, we specialize in helping our clients fight unfair traffic tickets and working toward the most positive outcomes. If you or someone you know has been charged with GPS or cell phone use, give us a call today at 646-770-0921 to begin defending yourself against these charges. We are here to help.