Despite recognizing its dangers, drivers continue to text and drive

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 1,000 people are injured and approximately nine people die every day in car crashes related to distracted driving. Although distracted driving is defined as any activity that takes a driver's full attention away from operating a vehicle, texting and driving is extremely dangerous because it is a form of manual, cognitive and physical distraction.

While most drivers in New York recognize the potential for causing a car accident if they use their cellphones to text while they drive, a recent survey revealed that a large majority of drivers continue to engage in this activity.

Drivers falsely believe they can multi-task

Business Insider states that of the 1,004 adults questioned in the survey conducted by AT&T Inc., approximately 98 percent who said they had a cellphone and used it to text reported that they were aware that texting and driving is a dangerous activity. Despite this finding, the survey also discovered that:

  • More than a quarter of the participants said that they believed they could easily handle doing two things at once while driving.
  • Approximately two-thirds of those who participated reported that they had read text messages while sitting at a stop sign or stop light
  • Three quarters of participants admitted that they had sent a text message while operating a vehicle

Those conducting the survey found that there were a variety of reasons why people chose to text and drive, despite being aware of its dangers. For example, nearly a third of participants said that they merely engaged in this activity out of habit while approximately 43 percent reported that they did it because they wanted to stay in touch with their friends and family members.

New York texting and driving laws

To prevent the serious personal injury accidents that may occur if a driver chooses to text and drive, the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles states that it is illegal for drivers to use a handheld mobile device while they are driving, unless they need to contact emergency fire, medical or police personnel.

Drivers who are caught using a cellphone while driving will be required to pay a fine. However, the amount drivers are required to pay for this violation depends on the number of prior offenses on their record. For example, a driver who is pulled over for texting and driving for the first time may face a fine that amounts to anywhere from $50 to $200 while a driver who is caught a second time in the same 18-month period may have to pay a fine of $50 to $250. Any subsequent offenses within 18 months carry fines of $50 to $450.

Although using a cellphone and driving in New York is illegal, many drivers continue to become distracted and endanger the lives of those on the road with them. If you have been injured in an accident caused by a negligent driver, consult with an attorney to find out what your legal rights are at this time.