Driving, especially in a large urban city like New York City, is an activity that requires a driver's full attention. On any given day while navigating through the city's streets, a driver is likely to encounter traffic congestion, delivery trucks, taxi cabs, bicyclists, and pedestrians. A driver who is distracted and not paying attention to the road can easily run a red light, hit a pedestrian or bicyclist, or fail to see a stopped delivery truck.
According to national statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, during 2013, "3,154 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers," and more than 424,000 injured. Some estimate that the number of injuries and deaths caused by distracted drivers is actually much higher as many drivers routinely engage in dangerous and distracting behaviors like texting, emailing, eating, tuning the radio, and attending to backseat passengers while behind the wheel of a motor vehicle.
In New York State, it's illegal for a driver to text or talks on a handheld cellphone while driving. Drivers who are found in violation of the state's cellphone and texting laws face a fine of $50 to $200. The fines for subsequent violations committed within an 18-month timeframe of a previous offense range from $50 to $450.
According to the New York City Police Department, in June of 2015, driver inattention and distraction was cited as contributing to 3,734 motor vehicle accidents throughout the city's five boroughs. In Manhattan alone, 884 accidents were attributed to distracted or inattentive driving.
For the drivers, passengers, bicyclists, and pedestrians who are the victims of these accidents, serious and debilitating injuries may result. Such injuries are often physically painful and financially costly as expenses related to medical care and lost income can quickly total into the hundreds to thousands of dollars. In cases where an individual knows or suspects that a distracted driver caused the accident in which he or she was injured, it's wise to speak with an attorney.
Source: New York State, "Distracted Driving, Talking & Texting," July 27, 2015