Automobile Accidents Caused by Texting: What is the Law and Who is Liable?


Motor vehicles, by their nature, are very dangerous.  Even when they are driven with the greatest care, motor vehicles can cause serious and life-threatening injuries, such as spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, or even death.  Especially when they are driven recklessly, motor vehicles can be extremely deadly.

With the increased use of technology, it is becoming much more common for motor vehicles to be driven recklessly due to distracted driving.  In 2012, according to the National Highway and traffic Safety Administration, 3,328 people were killed in crashes that involved a distracted driver.  It was also estimated that in the same year 421,000 people were injured in motor vehicle accidents that involved a driver who was distracted.  The use of text messaging has had an impact on the number of accidents involving distracted drivers.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, texting while driving increases the driver’s likelihood of being involved in a motor vehicle accident.  In fact, some studies estimate that drivers who text are 23 times more likely to be involved in a motor vehicle accident.

It is now illegal under New York law for a person who is operating a motor vehicle to use his or her cell phone while the motor vehicle is moving.  New York Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 1225-c(2)(a) states that “no person shall operate a motor vehicle upon a public highway while using a mobile telephone to engage in a call while such vehicle is in motion.”  The few exceptions to this statute are:

  • Making an emergency call;
  • Driving on a private roadway;
  • The use of a “hands free” device; or
  • Pulling onto the side of the road to use the phone.

In addition, under New York Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 1225-d(1) “no person shall operate a motor vehicle while using any portable electronic device while such vehicle is in motion.”  This includes using cell phones to send text messages and looking at or sending e-mails.

Violating either of these Sections can result in criminal and/or civil liability for a Hudson car accident.  Police officers can now stop and ticket drivers when they use their cell phones.  Civilly, doctrine of negligence per se has been applied to violations of these statutes to compensate persons injured as a result of reckless and distracted driving.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident caused by the other drivers reckless or distracted driving because of they were texting, contact an experienced Hudson car accident attorney to evaluate our case and discuss any right you may have with regards to compensation.

The attorneys at Greenberg and Greenberg handle car accident cases throughout New York State, including Columbia, Greene, Rensselaer, and Albany County.  Our legal team has earned a reputation for dedicated service to our clients injured in New York personal injury accidents.  Please contact us today to receive a free case evaluation by dialing locally to 518-828-3336 or call toll free at 877-469-9300.