Tough Texting Laws

Starting today, cell phone usage laws for commercial vehicle drivers in New York have gotten even tighter.

New York texting laws now ban drivers from using their phones or texting at traffic stops.

“This change is the vehicle and traffic law is another example of how the message is being sent that texting or using a cell phone while driving will not be tolerated in New York state,” Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Barbara Fiala stated.

“The state is now requiring intrastate carriers to adhere to the same rules to which the majority of the industry has been subject since Jan. 3, 2012,” said Karin White, the New York Motor Truck Association’s deputy director.

While texting-and-driving laws are already in place in New York and apply to all drivers, the law is specifically for CDL holders. Regular drivers are only prohibited from using their phones while their vehicle is in motion.

The new law states that commercial drivers must refrain from using a cell phone or “portable electronic device while the vehicle is temporarily stationary because of traffic, a traffic control device, or other momentary delays.”

According to the New York Department of Motor Vehicles the

New Penalties for Motor Carriers and Commercial Vehicle Drivers are as follows: 

For violations committed by commercial vehicle drivers on and after October 28, 2013, the following changes take effect:

  • motor carrier must not allow or require their drivers to use cell phones or texting devices while driving.
  • A mobile telephone used by a person who operates a commercial motor vehicle shall not be deemed a “hands-free mobile telephone” when the driver presses more than a single button to dial or answer the phone.
  • A commercial vehicle driver is not allowed to make a phone call or use a texting device while the vehicle is temporarily stationary because of traffic, a traffic control device, or other momentary delays.
  • A commercial vehicle driver who holds a mobile telephone to, or in the immediate proximity of, his or her ear while the vehicle is temporarily stationary because of traffic, a traffic control device, or other momentary delays is also presumed to be engaged in a call.
  • A commercial vehicle driver who holds a portable electronic device in a conspicuous manner while the vehicle is temporarily stationary because of traffic, a traffic control device, or other momentary delays is presumed to be using the device.

In other words, just to be safe, if your key is in the ignition, don’t get caught holding your phone!

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