We’re all guilty of doing it at one time or another, even though we know it’s dangerous. Sometimes, we don’t even realize when we are. But for the rest of the month of April, you want to make sure you avoid it, because law enforcement across New York State is paying extra close attention.

In 2023, we’re more attached to our phones than ever, with massive repercussions. The consequences of our phone addiction are most obvious on our roadways.

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Have you ever arrived at your destination and realized you don’t even remember the drive because you were chatting on the phone? How about the driver in front of you still sitting at a green light because they were texting while it changed? 

It isn’t just annoying traveling on the roads with drivers who aren’t paying attention - it’s dangerous.

Distracted Driving #1 Cause Of Crashes In New York State

Distracted driving is the highest contributing factor to motor vehicle accidents in New York. The National Highway Traffic & Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that over 32,000 deaths have occurred because of distracted driving incidents since 2012. 

Car Crash

It’s not just using your phone, either. Adjusting your music, eating and drinking, or doing your makeup while driving can all pull your focus away from the road and lead to a crash.

New York State Distracted Driving Fines

In 2001, New York became the first state in the US to make talking on hand-held phones while driving illegal, followed by texting in 2009. In fact, it isn’t just talking and texting on your phone that’s against the law. Just glancing at a text, e-mail or website, or picture while holding your phone is illegal while driving in New York State.

Police giving ticket to driver

If you’re caught using your phone while driving, you could have to pony up a hefty fine - from $50 to $450 depending on the offense.

Even with these bans in place, it still isn’t enough to prevent drivers from getting engrossed by their phones on the road.

April Is Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Throughout the month of April, New York State drivers will see signs on the roadways warning drivers about the dangers of distracted driving. Additionally, police will be out in full force looking for drivers who are texting and talking on the phone without using a hands-free device. 

The NHTSA recommends that drivers follow these tips to keep themselves and their passengers safe on the road.

  • Pull over and park your car in a safe location before texting
  • Have your passenger respond to calls or texts for you
  • Don’t scroll through apps while driving
  • If you can’t help yourself, put your phone in the trunk, glove box, or back seat while you drive

Just because our phones are so ingrained in our lives doesn’t mean they have to be while we’re driving. Keep your focus on the road while traveling to keep yourself and your fellow New York drivers safe. 

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