Is It Legal to Use Your Phone at a Red Light in New York State?
So you are sitting at a horrifically long red light, stopped. Can you reach for your cell phone to check to see if you have a text or check your email? You're stopped, so it's not illegal, right?
Well, no. At least that is what the cop will tell you who might pull you over to give you a ticket.
According to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, the following are all considered illegal, when you are behind the wheel of a car, while it is in motion (which includes being at a red light), from the DMV website:
- talking on a handheld mobile telephone
- composing, sending, reading, accessing, browsing, transmitting, saving, or retrieving electronic data such as e-mail, text messages, or webpages
- viewing, taking, or transmitting images
- playing games
If you are driving, the only time you are legally allowed to use your phone is when you are calling 9-1-1, to report an emergency.
What happens if you do and you get pulled over? You will get a ticket for a moving violation. Yes, there will be a fine and you might have to appear (not sure if court dates are being held in person right now because of the pandemic), but what could be more tough to deal with than the ticket and the fees? The fact that you could get points on your license, that might be tougher to deal with than the money you will more than likely be paying. If you get 11 points in a period of 18 months, your driver's license could be suspended.