Tag Archives: talking and texting

This Social Media App Could Kill Your Kids

Technology is constantly evolving and new forms of social media are being created every day. Snapchat is the newest and most popular social network; just about everyone has it on their phone or knows someone who actively uses it. It’s a combination of a video and photo app complete with the ability to add and write captions, filters and even a speedometer filter. Users, who are largely made up of teens are living in the super connected age; they never want to miss a thing, so they’re always logged on. This means snapping while in school, out with friends and even in the car. The biggest problem with this app is that users are “snapping” while behind the wheel.

According to Liberty Mutual Insurance and Students against Destructive Driving (SADD) a survey that was taken of 11th and 12th graders across the country proved that teens are using snapchat more than any other form of social media when driving. Out of all other possible digital distractions, Snapchat ranked highest at 38%. There are an alarming number of car accidents and fatalities being caused by users that were snapping while driving. The speedometer filter is also a major factor in users snapping while driving. There have been reports of teens in car accidents who were snapping while their speeds were maxing over 100 MPH.

snap and drive

It’s important that parents have conversations about distracted driving and the consequences of using Snapchat and other social media apps while driving.  With Snapchat’s growing popularity and constant updates making it even more enticing to use whenever and where ever; teens need to know that it’s okay to put the phone down. In New York, lawmakers are pushing for Text and Driving/Distracted Driving tickets to be treated like DWIs. A conviction may result in license suspension. Snapchat’s core users are under the age of 24 and new drivers cannot afford a five point ticket (Improper use of Portable Electronic Device).

Make sure you speak to your children about their phone usage while behind the wheel. Remind them that it is against the law, can cost them (or you the parent) money, points on their record or even worse, their life. If you or someone in your family has received a summons for using an electronic device while driving, please do not hesitate to contact me. Young drivers should not have any infractions on their records, and as an experienced New York Traffic Ticket Attorney I can fight for them. Contact me at 212-227-9008 or via email at michaelblock.law@gmail.com


Photo: NY Times 

NYC Traffic Ticket Lawyer: Cell phone use increases in drivers despite risk and law enforcement

Every year thousands of Americans die in accidents caused by distracted driving.

And while a new survey found that most people know texting and checking email behind the wheel is dangerous, a growing number do it anyway.

Steff Demaya engaged with a cellphone on the road, and now she is learning how to walk all over again.

“That’s where they cut it,” she said.

Her leg was injured and later amputated after she crashed her car. She admitted that she was distracted, and reaching for her ringing cell phone.

“I reached down to grab it on the floor board, just that quick,” she said.

Even though many drivers recognize how distracting cell phones can be behind the wheel, and support measures to crackdown on using them, new data shows that the problem is only getting worse.

“If you know this to be distracting, why are you doing it? These additional activities are troubling,” said Chris Mullen director of technology research at State Farm.

A new State Farm survey found the number of people texting while driving has remained relatively stable since 2009, but it found that more than twice as many drivers surf the internet. Reading emails and checking social media accounts while driving are also up.

A Colorado man has created a device that could stop the problem. It’s called The Groove, it’s a small box that plugs into almost any modern car.

The Groove blocks the driver’s phone from sending or receiving data. Phone calls will go through, but no texts, emails, or social media. The system won’t deliver them until the car is turned off.

It also means that mobile networks need to cooperate, something that, despite years of successful testing and demonstrations hasn’t happened.

“You cannot imagine how frustrating it’s been. And I can’t watch the public service announcements because we’re standing on something that can stop that. It’s hard to watch them and know that you’re in the middle of something and you want it to be out there,” Scott Tibbitts said. “Being a parent, I cannot imagine getting a phone call that says there’s been an accident.”

While mobile companies may be hesitant to work with the device, its creators said it works with any phone and any car made after 1996.

Groove does not require an app.

While 98 percent of drivers surveyed believe that texting while driving is dangerous, 66 percent admit to doing it.

Article Originally Featured on CBS New York

*Photo Credit: “texting and driving” By: frankieleon/Source: Flickr

Me dieron un ticket por usar el celular. ¿Qué hago?

Si usted usa su celular para mandar un texto, buscar direcciones, o hablar, le pueden dar una multa.  La ley  § 1225-d dice que si el teléfono esta en las manos del chofer, y el chofer está usando el celular, puede ser multado.  Aquí están los pasos que debe tomar para pelear el ticket y evadir los puntos en su licencia.

  • Recaude la Evidencia

Muchas veces es difícil comprobar que usted no estaba usando el celular.  El chofer puede pedir datos detallados de su compañía de teléfono para comprobar que no estaba usando el celular al momento que el policía le dio la multa.

  • Puntos en Su Licencia

El ticket de usar el celular en Nueva York tiene 5 puntos.  Puntos adicionales en su licencia alzan el precio de su seguro y lo ponen a riesgo de suspensión.  Es importante recordar que si usted recibe 11 puntos en un periodo de 6 meses, le van a suspender la licencia.

  • El Costo

La multa por usar el celular cuesta entre $50 y $400 dependiendo de la gravedad de la ofensa o la frecuencia de la ofensa—-  Además de la multa y puntos en su licencia, el costo de su seguro también puede aumentar.

  • ¡Cuidado con los Policías!

Puede que usted sienta la necesidad de hablar con el policía sobre su multa pero le recomendamos que no hable.   Sea respetuoso y obedezca las instrucciones del oficial.  Los policías toman nota sobre las conversaciones que tienen con choferes y pueden usar lo que usted dice en contra de usted cuando pelea la violación en la corte.

  • Estamos aquí para ayudarle

Si usted recibe un ticket por usar el celular o cualquier otra violación de transito llámenos al (212) 227-9008 o contáctenos por email a michaelblock.law@gmail.com para más información.

*Photo Credit: “This is My Father” by Bradely Gordon/Source: Flickr

New York City Crackdown on Speeding, Cellphones and Failure to Yield to Pedestrians

The New York Police Department said on Monday that it was cracking down on motorists this week in areas frequented by older adults, an announcement that came out the same day a 62-year-old woman was fatally struck by a city bus in Brooklyn.

The initiative follows a string of fatal collisions involving pedestrians and motorists in the past two months.

Police officers will target drivers who commit moving violations like speeding and failing to yield to pedestrians near senior centers during times when there are large numbers of people in those areas, officials said in an advisory distributed to members of the news media. The effort, called the Holiday Pedestrian Safety Initiative, began Monday and is expected to run until Sunday, according to the advisory.

The enforcement initiative focuses on seven moving violations outlined under Vision Zero, the mayor’s plan to eliminate pedestrian fatalities in the city. Other offenses include improper turns, texting or using a phone while driving, and traffic signal violations.

The initiative aims to “prevent injuries and create a safe environment,” the police said.

Traffic fatalities have fallen from 244 around this time in 2014 to 217 this year, a decrease of about 11 percent, according to figures provided by the Police Department. Pedestrian fatalities have fallen more modestly, from 128 to 122 in the same period, about a 5 percent change, the police said.

The police said the woman killed on Monday, Eleonora Shulkina, was crossing East 17th Street in Sheepshead Bay when she was hit by a B36 bus making a left turn off Avenue Z. The driver remained at the scene and was not arrested as the police continued their investigation on Monday.

Her death follows a series of fatal accidents involving older pedestrians in New York. On Dec. 2, Liana Platika, 84, was fatally struck by a garbage truck at 58th Street and Third Avenue in Manhattan. Bella Markowitz, 85, died the same day, two days after she was critically injured by a driver making a left turn at East 16th Street and Kings Highway in Brooklyn.

In both cases, the drivers remained at the scene or were found nearby. Neither was arrested or issued a summons, the police said on Monday.


*Article Originally Featured on The New York Times

*Photo Credit: “NYPD” By: Giacomo Barbaro/Source: Flickr

U.S. Drivers may be Dying Because of Cellphone Use While Driving

The number of deaths from traffic accidents in the United States jumped 8.1 percent in the first half of 2015, suggesting smartphones and other driving distractions could be making America’s roadways more dangerous, officials said Tuesday.

Preliminary government statistics, released during a Thanksgiving holiday week known for heavy traffic congestion, showed deaths rising to 16,225 in the January-June period at a rate more than double an increase in overall driving spawned by falling gasoline prices and a growing economy.

“The increase in smartphones in our hands is so significant, there’s no question that has to play some role. But we don’t have enough information yet to determine how big a role,” said Mark Rosekind, who heads the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the federal government’s auto safety watchdog.

The jump in 2015 fatalities follows a decline in annual traffic deaths to 32,675 last year, for a record low of 1.07 deaths per million vehicle miles traveled, according to NHTSA statistics. The 2014 data included 21,022 passenger vehicle deaths, the lowest since record-keeping began in 1975.

The increase in the first half of 2015 was the biggest six-month jump in traffic deaths reported since 1977, according to statistics. But officials cautioned that semi-annual results can be subject to major revisions and noted that a comparable 7.9 percent increase in early 2012 led to a 4 percent rise for that year as a whole.

Officials said it was too early to identify contributing factors. But Rosekind told reporters that officials are looking at likely causes including distracted driving and the possibility that lower gas prices have encouraged more driving among “risky drivers” such as teenagers.

Rosekind also criticized an absence of effective state laws that prohibit drivers from using hand-held smartphones or require the use of seatbelts and motorcycle helmets.

The auto safety agency expects to unveil a program next year to focus $500 million in federal safety grants on human factors that are responsible for 94 percent of motor vehicle crashes.

Article Originally Published on The New York Post

*Photo Credit: “April 10 33″ By: Lord Jim/Source: Flickr

Cellphone Ticket found Not Guilty in Manhattan

A 5 point Cellphone Ticket (Operating Motor Vehicle While Operating a Mobile Phone) was found Not Guilty in Manhattan South Court

Cellphone Tickets in Manhattan have skyrocketed in recent years!  From 2011 to 2012 tickets issued for driving while texting increased 234 percent.  Under Governor Cuomo, the state pledged $1 million to fund the campaign against cellphone use as well as increased the 3-point penalty to a 5-point penalty on the driver’s record.

Cops also have a better chance of catching you unnoticed.  CITE—Concealed Identity Traffic Enforcement—vehicles are unmarked black SUVs that allow the police to drive and enforce laws unidentified.

cellphone ticket may be issued regardless of how the driver was using the device.  The law defines “using” as holding your cellphone while talking, taking pictures, texting, or simply viewing the device.  So if you are viewing the device as a GPS, you are in violation.

In addition, cellphone tickets rack up as much as 5 points.  Extra points on your license can increase the price of your insurance.  3 cellphone tickets could result in the suspension of your license.

The cost of cellphone tickets can range between $50 to $400 depending on the gravity and frequency of the offense.  Aside from the immediate cost of the ticket, points on your license could cause insurance premiums to increase significantly.

When you receive the cellphone ticket, do not discuss it with the police officer.   Anything you say can, and WILL be used against you in court.  Officers take notes on any comments you make which can later harm you while disputing your traffic ticket.

A cellphone ticket lawyer is waiting to help you. New York City Traffic Ticket Law can be very damaging to your driving record. My advice is: don’t pay that traffic ticket. Take a moment now to share a few details about your ticket here.

We always fight for the most favorable outcome and are always glad to have great results for our clients. If you’ve received a speeding ticket or any other type of moving violation, let us help you! Email us at michaelblocklawyer.com or call (212) 227-9008 to learn how we can defend you.

We fight tickets all over New York, including: Queens, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, and Long Island.

Middle Aged Drivers Talk and Text on Cellphones while Driving Too

Middle-Aged drivers are texting and using cellphones while driving.
Maybe it’s time to take away our allowance? It turns out that teenagers aren’t the only ones who text and drive. Middle-aged drivers do it too and are at a higher risk of causing a car crash because of it, according to a study by the University of California, San Diego.  The research found that most middle-aged drivers admit to using their cell phones regularly while driving, even with children in the car; drivers also feel pressured to answer work calls while driving.
More than one in four car accidents are caused by cell phone use, says the National Safety Council (NSC). A driver’s crash risk increases eight-fold if they are texting; even talking hands-free makes drivers four times more likely to be involved in a crash.

The authors of the study hope companies will talk to employees about the risks associated with distracted driving, and institute policies that will discourage them from using their cell phones while in the car.

The study found that 75 percent of the participants talk on cell phones hands-free, and almost 90 percent of them consider themselves capable or very capable drivers while doing so. Less than 30 percent of participants knew that talking on a hands-free phone increases the risk of crashing to the same degree as driving at the legal alcohol limit, according to the study which was published in the Journal of Transport and Health.

“We weren’t surprised to see that relatively few people understand the risks of distracted driving,” said Jessa Engelberg, lead author of the study, in a press release. “What we were really interested in was whether factors like children and work obligations had an effect on people’s behavior.”

Apparently they do not. Middle-aged drivers continued to use their mobile phones with kids in the car and more than one-third of the participants said they felt pressure to answer a call from the office.

Maybe what we need is an app that automatically turns off our phones when we start up the ignition?

*Photo Credit: “texting and driving” By: frankieleon/Source: Flickr

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Police Crack Down on Calling, Texting While Driving

Police Crack Down on Calling and Texting While Driving

More than 60 motorists were pulled over Monday in the Hampstead area, says Carroll County Sheriff’s Office.

Police in the Hampstead area are targeting motorists this week who get distracted by using their cellphones while driving. The use of handheld cellphones while driving is illegal in New York.

On Monday, deputies from the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office teamed up with members of the Maryland State Police and the Hampstead Police Department on a Distracted Driving Initiative, sponsored by the Maryland Highway Safety Office.

From 2 p.m. to about 6 p.m., the law enforcement personel patrolled the area of Route 482 and the Route 30 Bypass, according to a story posted on the Facebook page of the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office. The focus on this enforcement effort was handheld cell phone use, although the police made traffic stops for other violations.

At the end of this event, a total of 35 citations, 24 warnings and two equipment repair orders were issued to motorists, according to the sheriff’s office. Throughout the week, police in the area will continue to look for and enforce laws directed at distracted driving.

Article Originally Featured on Patch.

Photo Credit: “NYPD” By: Giacomo Barbaro/Source: Flickr

Vision Zero Vigil Takes Over Union Square

A group of 1,000 people, all of whom were affected in one way or another by serious traffic accidents in New York City, gathered in Union Square on Wednesday night. They had a very clear message – traffic accidents are avoidable and preventable. That is the driving force behind Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero policy, which seeks to end all pedestrian traffic deaths in New York City. So far in 2015, there have been 123 traffic related deaths and over 23,000 serious injuries.

The strategy to end pedestrian traffic deaths comes consists of increased enforcement of speeding, failure to yield, and distracted driving offenses, as well as ambitious plans to redesign some of the more dangerous city streets. Speed cameras have been set up in certain areas of NYC and statistics show that speeding violations caught by those cameras have actually decreased; this means drivers are becoming more aware of their surroundings and the regular enforcement of these violations.

While progress has been made, events like the Vision Zero Vigil highlight the fact that there is still much work to be done in order to bring the number of pedestrian deaths down to zero in New York City. What are your thoughts on Vision Zero? Could the Mayor be doing more? Or is he on the right path?

New York Traffic Ticket Lawyer: What is Vision Zero?

In 2014, Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled his Vision Zero policy as a way to eliminate all pedestrian traffic deaths in New York City. Studies that led to the creation of Vision Zero claim that 4,000 people are injured each year in New York City traffic crashes while another 250 are killed due to involvement in a traffic crash. The basic tenets of Vision Zero are as follows:

• There is no such thing as a traffic accident – instead, they are crashes that could have been prevented.
• There is no acceptable level of injury or death that stem from traffic crashes.
• The public should expect safe traffic behavior on the streets.

How does Vision Zero affect New York drivers? Vision Zero studies estimate that 70% of traffic crashes involving pedestrians are caused by driver actions, specifically speeding, failure to yield and improper turns, texting / talking while driving, and signal violations. As such, New York City has increased the enforcement of speeding and failure to yield violations in some effective ways.

In November 2014, the un-posted speed limit in New York City was lowered from 30 mph to 25 mph as part of the Vision Zero initiative. In addition, enforcement of the new speed limit was heavily increased – in the first few months, the number of speeding tickets issued in NYC skyrocketed 40% from the previous year. Drivers have reported getting speeding tickets for going only 1-5 mph over the speed limit, which has not always been the case in NYC. The penalties for speeding tickets vary anywhere from 3-11 points depending on how fast over the speed limit the driver was going. 11 points or 3 speeding tickets within an 18 month period is often grounds for driver’s license suspension, while 6 points within an 18 month period will bring about an extra fee in the form of the Driver Responsibility Assessment.

Failure to Yield, Improper Turns, and Signal Violations
One of the biggest changes to come out of Vision Zero is the fact that drivers who fail to yield the right of way and seriously injure or kill pedestrians can now be charged with misdemeanors. In addition, the number of failure to yield tickets issued by the NYPD increased over 125% from the previous year. City bus drivers feel they are unfairly targeted by this new enforcement, especially since they are tasked with running tight schedules to keep commuters moving. 6 city bus drivers have been arrested since the change to the failure to yield law, though one of them was just recently cleared of any wrongdoing. Improper turn and signal violation tickets are already fairly common in New York City as “right on red” is typically not allowed on city roads, though it is allowed in other parts of New York as well as the surrounding states. Failure to yield tickets carry a penalty of 3 points, while improper turn and signal violations carry 2 point penalties.

Texting / Talking While Driving
One of the worst tickets drivers can get in New York is the cell phone / portable electronic ticket. Not only is it a high-point ticket (5 points), but it is also a difficult ticket to fight. Unfortunately, as part of Vision Zero and other distracted driving awareness pushes, there has been a huge increase in the number of cell phone tickets issued in New York. The burden of proof for a cell phone ticket is fairly low – an officer merely needs to see the cell phone in the vicinity of a driver’s head to issue the ticket, and drivers will typically need to pull call records from their cell phone provider to prove they were not on the phone at the time in order to stand much of a chance of beating this ticket. A police officer may issue a portable electronics ticket to drivers if they are touching any handheld electronic device – this includes iPods and MP3 players, GPS devices, and tablets.

Mayor de Blasio claimed that Vision Zero has been a great success, especially since 2014 proved to be the safest year for pedestrians in New York City since 1909. However, the mayor let everyone know there was still much work to be done since the goal of Vision Zero is to totally eliminate pedestrian traffic deaths. Other reports say that Vision Zero has seen mixed results since its roll out, with pedestrian deaths lowering in some parts of the city while actually rising in other areas.

Judging by the amount of tickets written in New York City due to Vision Zero initiatives, as well as the relative success of the policy in its first year, it is a very safe bet the program will not only continue, but that officials will not rest on their laurels. Expect to see an even stronger focus on the targeted enforcement of Vision Zero violations as officials strive to reach their goal of eliminating all pedestrian traffic deaths in New York City. It’s possible that in order to reach this goal, higher monetary fines and point values will be attached to Vision Zero traffic tickets, all while steadily increasing enforcement of these traffic violations.

If you receive a speeding ticket, failure to yield ticket, cell phone ticket, or any other Vision Zero traffic ticket, please contact us immediately at 212-227-9008 to see how we may help you.

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Lawyer Sues Tech Companies over Distracted Driving

Stephen L. Joseph, a lawyer from Los Angeles who achieved positive results stemming from lawsuits against the food industry over trans-fats has now targeted the tech industry. The reason for the lawsuit? He believes companies such as Apple, Samsung, Microsoft, and Google produce devices that encourage drivers to focus on everything but the road while they’re driving. The lawsuit claims that these tech companies have a moral responsibility to help stop the problem of distracted driving. While Apple made no formal comment on the lawsuit, it did point out that drivers have the ability to turn off their phones and devices or engage settings that can limit the distractions – basically saying that it is the driver’s responsibility to limit distractions before they start driving.

The legal grounds for the lawsuit rest in “public nuisance” laws, which typically refer to community disruption, though law suits filed under the public nuisance law have been used to address public health issues. Experts expect the lawsuit to be throw out due to the fact that most public nuisance lawsuits have failed in court. This is true, but Mr. Joseph has filed other lawsuits that were ultimately thrown out – the trans-fat lawsuit and a lawsuit against the city of Los Angeles regarding graffiti – that still generated a lot of publicity and led to the changing of practices in those areas.

Do you think tech companies have a responsibility when it comes to distracted driving? Or is it up to the driver to make their own decisions?

New Distracted Driving Study Highlights a Serious Problem

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conducted a new study on distracted driving, and the results show the problem to be much worse than most people think. These are some of the highlights of the study:

• Distracted driving caused 3,100 deaths in 2013
• 10% of people video chat while driving
• 61% of people text and drive
• 33% of people check their email
• 17% of people take steering wheel selfies
• 30% of people admit to being on Twitter “all the time” while driving

46 states, including New York State, have laws against texting and driving. New York also has some of the most stringent cell phone laws in the country – a cell phone ticket or portable electronic device ticket in New York carries a penalty of 5 points. In addition, a cell phone only needs to be in the vicinity of a driver’s head for a police officer to issue a cell phone ticket.

If you receive a cell phone ticket or a portable electronic device ticket, please be sure to contact us immediately at 212-227-9008 to see how we may help you.

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Long Island Traffic Lawyer - Distracted Driving can be Just as Dangerous as Drunk Driving

Everyone knows that driving while intoxicated is one of the most dangerous things a person could do, but what about driving while you have to go to the bathroom? Or driving while daydreaming? Numerous studies have been conducted that show how some of these other activities can be just as dangerous as drunk driving:

Drowsiness and Congestion

Sleeping while drowsy can be brought on by either not having enough sleep or taking medication such as sleeping pills or muscle relaxers before you drive. The TV show Mythbusters conducted a test that showed driving after being awake for 30 hours to be 10 times as dangerous as driving after having 2 drinks. Studies have also shown that teenagers are less likely to pull over and take a nap if they are feeling tired than adults. As far as medication is concerned, many drivers don’t realize that driving after taking a sleeping pill or other medication that causes drowsiness could lead to them being arrested for DUI – Driving Under the Influence. The FDA mandates that warnings be put on all bottles that contain sleeping pills to let drivers know the danger they face if they get in the car after taking the pills. Many times, drivers will take non-drowsy cough or cold medicine to get through the day – but a recent study found that motorists who drive with the flu or a bad head cold have their reaction time cut in half, which is about the same as those who drank 4 shots of double whiskey. Even more disturbing though is that almost half of all drivers have driven while sick.

Cell Phones

Research has shown that texting while driving can be twice as dangerous as drunk driving. Other studies report that texting while driving can be four to six times as distracting as drunk driving. A texting ticket in New York carries 5 points, which is one of the highest point tickets you can receive in New York. However, it does not carry a criminal charge like DWI or DUI. And while it is still legal to speak on a hands-free phone while driving, studies tend to agree that talking on the phone, whether hands-free or not, is still an extremely dangerous practice. A University of Utah study found that drivers with a .08 BAL actually drove better than those who were on a phone. In fact, during the course of the study, three drivers who were using hands-free phones actually crashed into their pace cars. The issue may not be so much about what is in your hands, but rather what is on your mind.

Road Rage and Arguments

Driving while angry increases the chances of speeding, weaving and out of lanes, tailgating, and engaging in other aggressive driving behaviors. All of these things combined have killed anywhere from two to four times as many people as drunk driving. Road rage can cause drivers to act in ways they normally wouldn’t and can cause many problems on the road. While road rage is directed at drivers in other cars, arguments with people inside your car can be just as dangerous. Whether it’s on the phone or with your spouse sitting next to you, these arguments can lead to unsafe speeds and delayed reactions. A study in England found that drivers arguing with their spouse over the phone fared slightly better than those who were arguing in person, with the thought being that it is easier to ignore your spouse over the phone. Nonetheless, just like road rage, arguing with a spouse leads to distracted driving, which in turn can lead to auto fatalities.

Other Distractions

The next time you are on a long road trip, you may want to take advantage of rest areas to relieve yourself. A recent study had volunteers drink many glasses of water and then take basic cognitive tests – without being allowed to use the restroom. The results showed that people who have to use the bathroom performed just as poorly as those with a .05 Blood Alcohol Level, or 2 ½ drinks. Researchers determined that this was a form of distracted driving, since your mind can only concentrate on one thing at a time. Another thing common to long road trips – or even heavy traffic on your commute – is daydreaming. An analysis of distracted driving fatalities that occurred over a 2-year period – roughly 6,500 – showed that 62% involved daydreaming. This percentage is even higher than texting or talking on a cell phone.

On a side note

This may seem like common sense, but you probably should not drive if you have been smoking marijuana. Legal marijuana use is growing in the United States, whether it’s through state-legalization efforts or medical use and proponents say that driving under the influence of marijuana is relatively safe. This is because drivers who smoke marijuana tend to drive slower and pass field sobriety tests. However, the fact still remains that marijuana causes a delay in reaction time for drivers, which is extremely dangerous since drivers are required to make split-second decisions while on the road. The American Journal of Epidemiology found that marijuana use was present in 10% of all auto fatalities over the past decade. Police officers can charge drivers who are under the effects of marijuana with DUI, which is a criminal charge.

All of the actions listed above are forms of distracted driving – a practice so bad that there is a month (April) known as National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Even so, all throughout the year police officers often engage in week or month-long crackdowns to combat distracted driving. Reaction times are cut, sometimes in half, which can lead to rear end accidents, running stop signs or stop lights, or driving at unsafe speeds.

If you receive a speeding ticket, cell phone ticket, or are arrested for DWI or DUI, please contact us immediately so we can begin working on your case and help you achieve the best outcome possible.

Long Island Driver Arrested for Driving Drunk while on a Cell Phone

A driver was pulled over in Hampton Bays this weekend after police observed him tailgating and using a cell phone without a hands-free device. Upon stopping the driver, police officers determined him to be intoxicated and unlicensed. He was charged with DWI and operating without a license, which are both criminal charges. He was also ticketed for following too closely and operating a vehicle while using a cell phone.

A DWI conviction can result in heavy fines, driver’s license suspension, and extra penalties in the form of the New York Driver Responsibility Assessment. An unlicensed operation conviction could result in heavy fines and possible jail time, though the jail sentence is very unlikely. A following too closely ticket carries a penalty of 4 points on a driver’s license, while a cell phone ticket has a penalty of 5 points.

If you receive traffic tickets on Long Island, or if you are charged with DWI or unlicensed operation, please contact us immediately at 212-227-9008 so we can begin working on your case and help you achieve the best possible outcome.

New York Traffic Lawyer: How Will New Technology Affect the Way We Drive?

While more and more technology comes out that seems to make driving safer, is it possible that it’s actually having the opposite effect? Distracted driving is a very real problem in New York and all over the country: a recent study showed that distracted driving was the cause for 16% of all traffic accidents in the U.S., while another study found that cell phone use was involved in 27% of all traffic accidents. Even though advances in technology may make life easier in some ways, the fact remains that those same advances may distract more and more drivers. Car companies and technology companies are looking for ways to integrate smart phone technology into automobiles to cut down on distracted driving, such as having head-up displays show up on car windshields, but will this just make the problem worse?

Self-Driving Cars
There has been a lot of press regarding self-driving cars, whether it was Delphi’s car which drove cross country from California to New York for the New York International Auto Show, the self-driving semi-trucks that have been driving along Nevada’s interstates, or the small number of self-driving cars that were involved in minor auto accidents (none of which were there fault, by the way). A self-driving car is a dream for many people, especially those who often have to ride the highways for long commutes or find themselves stuck in traffic every day, but it does not mean that these drivers will be able to read a book or use their cell phone while the car is driving its self. A driver has to be behind the wheel of a self-driving car at all times in order to take over in case the auto-driving system fails or the driver sees that they need to take action in order to avoid a collision – in addition, New York is the only state that requires drivers to have at least one hand on the wheel at all times while driving. Distracted driving laws apply to those behind the wheels of self-driving cars: they cannot talk, text, or use their cell phone for anything else other than an emergency while the car is in self-drive mode and they must be aware of their surroundings at all times. While it might be tempting to take a nap in your self-driving car, you’ll more than likely find yourself getting a traffic ticket if you do.

Auto-Braking Systems
Recently, a Youtube video started making the rounds showing a group of people testing out Volvo’s new auto-braking feature; however, the plan did not work out as expected. Instead of stopping in front of the group of people who were gathered around to watch the display, the remote controlled car instead plowed right through them. Volvo released a statement regarding the video, saying that the owner of the car did not purchase the “pedestrian detection functionality” upgrade which is meant for slow moving or stop-and-go traffic. Volvo also stated that the auto-braking system would have been overridden since the car was actively accelerating. Justifications aside, the fact remains that these people trusted this auto technology to do one thing and yet it did another – thankfully, none of the people involved in the incident were badly injured, but that doesn’t mean this will always be the case. Once again, an attentive driver is needed to be aware of their surroundings for just this type of occasion – a distracted driver who relies on auto-brake technology could very well find themselves in a fender bender, or even worse, striking a pedestrian.

Head-Up Displays
One of the newest developments in car tech is the Head-Up Display (HUD). Companies are now making devices that project information from your smart phone, such as calls and notifications, onto the windshield – it looks like a hologram at the end of your car’s hood. Drivers can answer or hang up with a wave of their hand while always keeping their eyes on the road. The rationale behind the HUD is that drivers are going to be on their cell phone no matter what, so the companies devised a way to allow drivers to stay connected with their smart phones while still paying attention while they drive. However, opponents of this technology claim that merely having eyes on the road is not the same as paying attention, and that making multitasking easier for drivers will just lead to more distracted driving accidents. Both sides make a compelling argument, but we will have to wait until the HUD technology becomes widely used and studied before any conclusions can be drawn about its effectiveness.

Wearable Tech
In Quebec, Canada, a driver was given a $120 traffic ticket for using his Apple Watch while driving – the man was using the watch to change the music on his car stereo. Quebec’s cell phone law states that drivers “may not use a hand-held device that include a telephone function” – as such, the driver is fighting the traffic ticket on the grounds that the Apple Watch is not hand-held since he wears it on his wrist. Whether or not he wins his case remains to be seen, but it’s safe to say that a device is not less distracting just because it’s being worn on your wrist instead of held in your hand. We can probably expect the laws to be amended to include wearable tech at some point in the near future, just like it took states some time to pass cell phone laws after cell phones became ubiquitous.

Distracted driving is a target for law enforcement agencies, many of which stage crackdowns during Distracted Driving Awareness Month in April. In New York, a cell phone ticket has 5 points – one of the highest point tickets you can receive in New York. If you get a cell phone ticket, portable electronic ticket, distracted driving ticket, or any other traffic ticket in New York State, please contact us immediately at 212-227-9008 to see how we may help your case.

New Studies Show Statistics of Distracted Driving Accidents

Distracted driving is such an important issue that New York often stages Distracted Driving Awareness campaigns in which they ticket motorists for distracted driving offenses, most notably cell phone and portable electronics violations. The fact that cell phone tickets have 5 points attached to them as well should let drivers know how seriously New York takes distracted driving violations, and recent studies show that New York is right: a study conducted by AT&T found that 61% of people use their phone to text while driving, 33% email driving, and 27% use Facebook while driving. In addition, other studies show that distracted driving and cell phone use are responsible for anywhere from 16% – 27% of all traffic accidents.

Do these statistics surprise you? Is there anything more that New York should do to combat distracted driving?

New York Traffic Ticket Lawyer: What Happens When I Get a Traffic Ticket?

Traffic tickets are an unfortunate reality for New Yorkers. From crackdowns on speeding to heavy fines imposed on cell phone violations, drivers always take the risk of receiving a traffic ticket when they drive in New York. While it might be better to just pay a New York parking ticket and move on, it’s almost never advisable to plead Guilty to moving violations in NYC due to the large fees and penalties that drivers face when convicted of those offenses. Instead of risking losing their driver’s licenses by going it alone, drivers should hire NYC traffic ticket lawyers to see what can be done to help.

NYC Traffic Tickets

There are so many different traffic laws for New Yorkers to know that it’s inevitable for drivers to slip up and receive a traffic ticket. Almost every moving violation in New York carries points, such as Failure to Yield (3 points) and Following Too Closely (4 points). Most NY traffic tickets usually have 2 or 3 points, but there are some offenses that are more heavily penalized due to their severity. Speeding tickets in NY range from 3 to 11 points, depending on how fast the driver was going when observed by the police officer. Cell phone tickets, reckless driving tickets, and passing a stopped school bus tickets each carry 5 points – these are the highest point tickets in New York besides high speeding tickets. If a driver accumulates 11 points on their driver’s license within an 18 month period, their license may be suspended. In addition, 6 points within an 18 month period will bring about extra fees in the form of the New York Driver Responsibility Assessment. The points can also cause insurance premiums to increase, which will cost drivers far more money beyond just the original traffic ticket fine.

Distracted Driving and Cell Phone Tickets

Over the past few years, New York has passed a number of more stringent traffic laws, such as penalizing the use of cell phones and portable electronic devices in an effort to combat distracted driving fatalities. Cell phone tickets initially did not have points attached to them, but that changed in February 2011 when all cell phone tickets also came with 2 points. In June 2013, that penalty was increased to 5 points. This is because cell phone use while driving is a huge contributor to deadly driving accidents. State and local police often stage distracted driving crackdowns multiple times a year in order to curb these dangerous habits and save lives.

Vision Zero

Vision Zero is Mayor de Blasio’s policy to end all pedestrian traffic deaths in New York. Among other measures, Vision Zero included a reduction of the un-posted city speed limit from 30 mph to 25 mph and increased targeting of Failure to Yield to Pedestrian violations. The amount of speeding tickets issued in NY has dramatically increased since the speed limit was lowered, and the amount of Failure to Yield tickets has increased by over 125% from the previous year. In addition, a Failure to Yield to a Pedestrian offense that results in death or serious injury has now become a misdemeanor offense as part of Vision Zero. While reports show that New York City has seen mixed success with Vision Zero, drivers can expect this policy to keep moving forward.

Other Crackdowns

New York law enforcement agencies often stage week-long or month-long crackdowns for different traffic offenses throughout the year. Just recently, state police participated in National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, in which they targeted cell phone users but also gave out a large number of speeding tickets, seat belt tickets, and other moving violation tickets. From May 20th to June 1st, police all over New York will engage in a “Click It or Ticket” campaign – while adult drivers and passengers do not receive points on a ticket for not wearing a seat belt, drivers can get 3 points on their license if any underage passengers are not securely buckled in. At other times in New York City, police target commercial truck drivers whose trucks are over the allowed weight limit. These targeted crackdowns are meant to increase safety awareness and help put a stop to dangerous driving practices, but traffic tickets issued during these periods can always be fought.

How a Traffic Ticket Lawyer Can Help

NYC traffic tickets can be a heavy burden for drivers, whether it’s due to the financial hardships they impose or the possibility of losing driving privileges. New York traffic ticket lawyers can often help clients by using their many years of experience navigating through the traffic court system to gain favorable outcomes. While no particular outcome can ever be guaranteed, drivers can at least be secure in the knowledge that they’re entrusting their driving record to an experienced lawyer who can put forward a valid defense. In addition, traffic ticket attorneys can also save drivers valuable time by making court appearances without having their clients present. For more information on how a New York traffic ticket lawyer can help you, please contact us at 212-227-9008 or email us at michaelblock.law@gmail.com.

Manhattan Traffic Ticket Lawyer: Don’t Pay Cell Phone Ticket – Fight It!

Are you aware that you can get a traffic ticket on 42nd Street in Manhattan for looking at your cell phone while stopped at a red light? Or that you don’t even have to be talking or texting on your cell phone in Manhattan, but that you can get a ticket just for holding your phone? In addition, did you know that a police officer walking down the street can give you a traffic ticket just as easily as a police officer in a patrol car? If you have received a cell phone ticket in Manhattan, or any other traffic ticket in New York City, please give us a call at 212-227-9008 to find out how we can help you.