In order for a police officer to pull over a driver for the unlawful use
of a portable electronic device, such as a cell phone, the police officer
must personally observe the driver “using” the portable electronic
mobile device while driving.
There are two separate statutes that were enacted to prevent drivers from
using electronic mobile devices while driving. VTL 1225-c focuses on punishing
drivers engaged in a phone call on a mobile device while driving and VTL
1225-d focuses on punishing those who are typing or interacting on an
electronic mobile device (e.g. texting) while driving.
Therefore, VTL 1225-d allows a police officer to pull over a driver who
is texting and driving and said statute provides in pertinent part;
- “Using” shall mean holding a portable electronic device while
viewing, taking or transmitting images, playing games, or composing, sending,
reading, viewing, accessing, browsing, transmitting, saving or retrieving
e-mail, text messages, or other electronic data.
- "A person who holds a portable electronic device in a conspicuous
manner while operating a motor vehicle is presumed to be using such device."
What if I’m stopped at a red light or stop sign?
Yes, a police officer can still pull you over for unlawfully using an electronic
mobile device while driving, even if you’re stopped pursuant to
a traffic control device.