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How much does a texting ticket cost?

We are pleased to share a guest blog from Fay Wein of Zev Goldstein Law about texting and driving. In the past, we have frequently discussed the dangers of using a cell phone to talk, text, take photos, or use social media while behind the wheel. We’ve explained that these things are illegal in Pennsylvania, as well as much of the rest of the country. But what happens if you do get a ticket for distracted driving? How much will it cost? How much will your insurance go up if you are caught texting while driving?

car accident texting while drivingDistracted driving can be any one of the following or a combination of all three; visual, manual or cognitive. A visual distraction is when you take your eyes off the road for more than a second to, say, talk to someone in the passenger seat. A manual distraction is when you take your hands off the steering wheel. A cognitive distraction is when your eyes and hands may be where they belong, but your mind is distracted and not focused on driving. Using a cell phone while driving is one of the most dangerous forms of distraction because it encompasses all three: visual, manual, and cognitive.

How much will a cell phone ticket cost me?

Different states have different fines and penalties, but all states now have fines for cell phone-related moving violations. NY leads the way in cracking down on TWD with stiff fines and points to end this dangerous trend. As of November 2014, for a first-time violation, the fine starts at $50 and may go up to $200. A second violation costs up to $250, and a third up to a whopping $450.

The points have also increased from 3 to 5 points. In the words of Attorney Zev Goldstein, “Only 2 other moving violations get 5 NYS DMV points: reckless driving and passing a stopped school bus. Distracted driving – using a handheld device has entered that exclusive club.”

How much will my insurance go up?

This will depend on what state you were pulled over and the particular insurance company. Not all states view cell phone violations the same way and neither do insurance companies. One thing is certain, it will have a significant impact on your driving history, especially in states like NY that have equated distracted driving to reckless driving in terms of the DMV point system.

What are the accident stats?

State Farm insurance recently conducted a study on the 2103 accident stats. Here’s what they found; 636,000 accidents, 2,700 deaths, and about $43 billion in damages were caused by cell phone use alone!

According to other stats Texting While Driving causes 1.6 million accidents per year, 30,000 injuries per year, and 11 teen deaths in the U.S. each day.

A person’s eyes are off the road for at least five seconds when texting. That’s like driving across a football field blindfolded -when you’re driving 55 mph!

Texting and driving behavior has been linked to other risk-taking behavior as well. Teens that text and drive are 5 times as likely to drink and drive and twice as likely to ride in a car with a driver that has been drinking, according to a study by CDC.

There is no question about it; distracted driving takes the cake when it comes to fines and penalties for a seemingly minor offense. It is one of the top contributors to traffic accidents and more and more states are in the process of instituting stricter distracted driving rules.

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