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Inattentive or distracted driving is a leading cause of traffic accidents in New York. In fact, a 2011 summary of New York car crash statistics found lack of attention or distracted driving to be the number one cause of traffic accidents, causing 19.4% of the 257,066 car crashes that year. The advent of cell phones and other handheld electronic devices have only increased the potential distractions at hand for the driver. The 2009 subway crash attributed to the inattentiveness of a texting subway operator is one horrific example of the dangers of texting while driving. Many states, including New York, have enacted laws limiting handheld cell phone use or texting while driving. But whether talking on the phone or to the person in the passenger seat, distractions can lead to automobile accidents causing serious personal injury and wrongful death.
New York state law prohibits drivers from the use of handheld cell phones while they are driving. Violation of this law is a traffic infraction punishable by a fine up to $100. This law, found at Vehicle and Traffic Code Article 33, section 1225-c, does allow hands-free mobile telephone use. It is important to remember, whether using a handheld phone or engaging in a call hands-free, that having a phone conversation while driving can easily distract the driver’s mind from watching the road and reacting appropriately to road conditions. It is always safest to keep phone calls to a minimum while driving and to pull off the road for a conversation that is going to be very involved.
Showing that a person was violating the law when an accident happened can be strong evidence of the person’s negligence, especially when the purpose of the law is to prevent the type of harm that occurred by the legal violation. This can particularly be the case in the event of handheld cell phone use or some of the other leading causes of automobile accidents, including following too closely, failure to yield the right of way, and speeding.
Regardless of whether the other driver was ticketed after an accident, proving that the person was negligent or reckless and caused the accident can be difficult. An experienced personal injury attorney can be invaluable in preparing and presenting a persuasive case and succeeding in obtaining compensation for your injuries. If you injured because of another driver’s distracted driving, contact New York City personal injury attorney Leandros A. Vrionedes, P.C. for a free consultation.