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A traffic ticket for texting while driving in some states can result in fines up to $10,000 and a year in jail. New York traffic laws are not quite as harsh in the penalties they impose, but a texting violation can still be expensive in a way that motorists might not initially realize.

Some people cannot seem to keep their eyes and hands off of their cell phones. The lure of checking for the latest text messages from friends, family or coworkers is so great that it keeps some people focused on their phones while eating, walking, working out at the gym or while at work.

When drivers allow their attention to be diverted away from the highway ahead of them in order to send a text message, they pose a danger to themselves and to other motorists. According to a government study, a car covers over 100 yards in the time it takes a driver to send or read a text message while traveling at 55 mph.

The fines and fees for a traffic ticket for texting while driving in New York is almost $300 with five points added to a motorist’s driving record. A second offense increases the maximum penalties to $250, and a third moving violation goes up to $450. Eleven points accumulated over an 18 month period could result in a suspended license.

Besides the fines and the risk of a suspended license, a hidden effect of points is that a driver’s insurance rates may increase. Anyone charged with traffic violations who might be tempted to plead guilty and pay the fines should consider the financial harm and discuss the case with a traffic violations attorney.

Source: The Christian Science Monitor, “How does a ticket for texting affect car insurance rates?” Barbara Marquand, Oct 13, 2015

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