New York is one of many states that prohibits drivers from texting while driving. However, it is one of only a handful of states that prohibits the use of any electronic device while driving. There are exceptions to these laws, of course, such as when there is a hands-free device being used or the mobile device is affixed to a surface on the vehicle. For a first offense, there is a fine of $50 to $200 and 5 points on a driver’s license. A second offense within 18 months and the fine jumps to a maximum of $250. For a third offense, the fine jumps to a maximum of $450.
The Daily Voice reports on a distracted driver who will be prosecuted by the Westchester County DA’s office.
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25-year-old West Islip resident Jesse Cohen has been indicted and arraigned on charges stemming from a December 2017 car accident that left a New York State Police Trooper seriously injured. The Westchester DA’s office was appointed as special prosecutor in the case after the Suffolk County DA’s office recused themselves.
Just before 2:30 p.m. on December 18, 2017, New York State Police Trooper Joseph Gallagher was attempting to assist a disabled motorist. The vehicle had been disabled on an overpass on the Sagtikos Parkway which connects to the Long Island Expressway. Gallagher closed one lane and blocked the disabled vehicle with his patrol car. He also engaged road flares and had his lights engaged. Cohen failed to move to the right and slammed into Gallagher. Data from Cohen’s phone showed numerous text messages received in the moments leading up to the crash.
Gallagher is still receiving care in a rehabilitation facility. He requires round the clock care and is unable to walk, talk, or eat on his own.
Cohen was arraigned on a charge of assault in the third degree with criminal negligence. If convicted, Cohen faces up to a year in prison.