A significant number of studies have indicated that texting while driving is as dangerous if not more dangerous than drunk driving. Most states have statutes that criminalize driving behind the wheel while intoxicated. However a growing number of states are also now making texting while driving an offense that carries criminal penalties as well. New York has a series of fines and license restrictions for those who text while drive. While New York’s penalties for texting while driving do not rise to the level of getting a DWI or a DUI, they can still affect your driving record and are a danger on the road.

There have been many campaigns against texting and driving, including a recent billboard from a fake funeral home encouraging people to text and drive which directs users to an anti-texting PSA on a website. However these anti-texting campaigns have been largely ineffective as the number of distracted driving accidents has increased in recent years. This may soon change. There is a current push to treat distracted driving like drunk driving, relying on a breathalyzer type of machine to prevent drivers from texting while operating a vehicle.

Distracted Driving Law is borrowing from Drunk Driving Law

New York lawmakers have proposed the idea of a Textalyzer, as a digital equivalent of the machine that police officers have suspected drunk drivers blow into. It would work in the same way many phones GPS systems work. It would provide metrics of whether a driver had used a phone to text or email while driving. If an officer requested a phone after a crash, and a diver refused to surrender the phone, it could carry similar consequences to refusing a breathalyzer. While the bill has not become law yet, it could significantly change how distracted drivers are treated, making their offenses more similar to DWIs.

The bill has been challenged because of privacy concerns related to the content of emails and texts, but the supporters of the bill say that access to this information would not be available to officers. The bill is part of an effort to make penalties for distracted driving on the same level as drunk driving.

Implied Consent Theory

In New York DWI cases, there is a concept known as implied consent. This theory states that if you have gotten a driver’s license you impliedly agree to undergo tests like the breathalyzer if you are arrested for driving under the influence. The supporters of the Textalyzer law hope to establish a similar implied consent theory for this device.

While the law on texting while driving may ultimately carry the same penalties that driving under the influence does, for now, a DWI remains a much more serious offense, not because of the potential for an accident, but with the fines and penalties associated with it. A DWI or a DUI is a very serious charge and can carry dire consequences.

How can we help?

Charged with a DWI in New York? Contact our team today to learn your options. We’re available 24/7; 1-866-792-7800.

DISCLAIMER: The exclusive purpose of this article is educational and it is not intended as either legal advice or a general solution to any specific legal problem. Corporate offices for Nave DWI Defense Attorneys are located at 432 N. Franklin Street, Suite 80, Syracuse, NY 13204; Telephone No.: 1-866-792-7800. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Attorney Advertising.