N.Y. cell phone penalty adds 2 points

Most New York cell phone offenders are in for a nasty surprise come Feb. 16: With that distracted driving ticket comes two points against the driver’s license.

The rule change brings handheld cell phone violations in line with penalties under the state’s 2009 text messaging law, which provides for 2 points against an offender’s license.

“It is only logical to assign two points to both of these forms of distracted driving,” the New York DMV said in its proposed rule-making filing.

“It will send a message that DMV considers cell phone violations a serious offense, in the same way DMV considers text messaging a serious offense.”

The DMV said it was “compelled” to make the change in light of the serious risks brought on by driving while using handheld cell phones. It presented a long list of statistics to back up its concerns, some outdated.

In 2002, the DMV exempted the cell phone law from the 2 point assessment for traffic infractions, saying violators probably picked up points as a result of their distracted driving.

Also, the DMV noted, the distracted drivers become part of the “persistent violator equation,” meaning an accumulation of 11 points in a year and a half could bring a license suspension or revocation.

Read more about New York’s distracted driving laws.


  1. Al Cinamon says:

    Let’s be clear. Two points are assessed only if you “hold” a cell phone in your hand. Talking on a cell phone is perfectly legal as long as you keep it a secret by putting something in your ear. Therefore, “talking” on a cell phone would not would generate a violation, hence no points would be assessed.

    In effect, then, the DMV has done absolutely nothing to curtail distracted driving. It’s a scam to fool the public into thinking the State cares about your safety

  2. If they don’t do anything else, it’ll take six infractions to do something about the habitual distracted driver.

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