Sakkas, Cahn & Weiss, LLP

free consultation

212-571-7171

  • Spanish, Hebrew, Polish and Georgian Services Available
contact Menu

Anti-distracted driving laws leave much to be desired

New York laws prohibit not just texting behind the wheel, but all handheld cellphone use while driving. The majority of states have banned texting, but New York is among only about a dozen states to also ban handheld cellphone use.

While such laws are necessary, they seem to be far short of comprehensive. After all, there are many other common behaviors that can be distracting behind the wheel and can increase the risk of a car accident. Yet many of these behaviors remain legal and socially acceptable. For instance, when was the last time you ate your dinner while simultaneously trying to steer a two-ton piece of machinery?

According to a 2012 study, eating while driving can slow driver response times by up to 44 percent. There is scientific evidence that this behavior can be dangerous. So why hasn't eating behind the wheel been outlawed?

A practical argument against banning such behaviors is that we generally can'€™t legislate common sense. Any law that specifically lists what drivers can and cannot do is likely to be prohibitively long and difficult to enforce.

On the other hand, laws that are worded vaguely can also be problematic. As an example, a driver in Georgia was recently cited for trying to eat a hamburger while driving - citation he plans to contest in court. While eating is not specifically banned, the wording of the statute could be interpreted in such a way as to prohibit eating while driving.

The statute reads: "€œA driver shall exercise due care in operating a motor vehicle on the highways of this state and shall not engage in any actions which shall distract such driver from the safe operation of such vehicle."

Generally speaking, laws that are too specific can lead to creative loopholes while laws that are too vague can lead to police overreach. Where should we draw the line when it comes to distracted driving?

Source: The New York Times, "€œA Cheeseburger, a Suburban Traffic Stop and a Ticket for Eating While Driving,"€ Alan Blinder, Jan. 20, 2015

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
Email Us For a Response

Have Questions? Get A Free Case Review

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Privacy Policy

150 Broadway Suite 300 New York, NY 10038

New York Office
150 Broadway
Suite 300
New York, NY 10038

Phone: 212-571-7171
Fax: 212-571-7174
Map & Directions

Fair Lawn Office
11-18 Saddle River Road
Fair Lawn, NJ 07410

Phone: 201-659-4144
Fax: 212-571-7174
Map & Directions

Garden City Office
1461 Franklin Ave, Suite 2SE
Garden City, NY 11530

Phone: 516-747-7472
Fax: 212-571-7174
Map & Directions

Stamford Office
1010 Washington Boulevard
Stamford, CT 06901

Phone: 203-862-8699
Fax: 212-571-7174
Map & Directions