You may not use Waze or GPS while driving in New York if you are holding the device while in motion. If the device is mounted on a dashboard or placed in your cup holder, then you are not violating the law. Of course, if you pick up the mobile device at any time, then your use becomes illegal.
VTL 1225-d(2) defines a “Portable electronic device” broadly as “any hand-held mobile telephone, as defined by subdivision one of section twelve hundred twenty-five-c of this article, personal digital assistant (PDA), handheld device with mobile data access, laptop computer, pager, broadband personal communication device, two-way messaging device, electronic game, or portable computing device.
More importantly, “use” means 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.” Using Waze or GPS requires a driver to view images, among other things. Thus, a driver holding a device while using Waze or GPS has violated VTL 1225-d.
If you have a passenger, then let him or her hold the device. If you’re alone, then you should not hold the device unless you pull over to a parked position (not stopped in traffic). While this may sound cumbersome, it is better than the alternative (getting a 5-point VTL 1225-d traffic ticket).
If you are from out of state and rented a car In NY then shouldn’t the rental car companies be forced to put phone mounts on the dash board and make renters aware that you can’t hold your phone while driving?! Especially if the car does not offer gps?! How is anyone in their right mind, who is not from this city, supposed to know where they are going without using GPS? Is it safer to veer left and right, stop on a dime, or use gps to figure out where to go? Getting pulled over at a light for just having your phone in your hand Because the Gps is on it, is a ludicrous law. Sorry, that us non politicians don’t have drivers that drive us around (paid by us tax payers) At this point it seems like a scam to make money for the city.
Thanks for your post and sharing your views. We’re not responding because it appears your questions are more rhetorical in nature.
I was pulled over in Brooklyn and given a ticket for use of an electronic device while driving. I left my phone on the dashboard with the GPS program running on the phone and listened to the audio cues. The police officer initially accused me of being on my cell phone (even though it was never in my hand) and once he saw that Waze was running on the phone, decided to give me a ticket for an electronic device “because the fine is lower.” Is it illegal to have a phone on your dashboard running a GPS even though I never touched the phone? This seems ridiculous considering the 5 points this violation carries!
Hi – my son was driving into a gas station in New York state and picked up his phone. A police officer was pumping gas and saw my son in the gas station parking lot with his phone and gave him a ticket under 1225(d). My son missed the court date and is now overdue. Should he send in the ticket now or call the clerk? Would the fact that he was in the driveway of the gas station make the law inapplicable since it was not a public way?
Your son should contact the court ASAP. I don’t think it makes a difference but you could make the argument.
I live in Ohio where you can use a gps while driving. I got pulled over in crawling traffic and got pulled over while checking my gps. I removed it from the holder to read whAt exit I had to get off on. Now this makes me guilty and I guess I have to pay fines but 5 points on license. Is there anyway of avoiding points or getting them removed?
The only way to possibly avoid or reduce points is by pleading not guilty. You can remove up to 4 NY points by taking the NYS Driver Safety Class.
Brooklyn: I got a moving violation ticket because waze was on in the passengers seat. Cop didn’t care, said I was using phone. Tried to fight it, Judge didn’t care. Got points on my license.
Sorry that you lost. You can appeal if within 30 days of the date of conviction.
what’s the punishment if policeman claims that the phone attached to the car was abstracting the view? are there points involved?
This ticket carries 0 points but could be beaten if you can prove that it did obstruct or interfere with your view. Specifically, VTL Section 375(30) reads: “It shall be unlawful for any person to operate a motor vehicle with any object placed or hung in or upon the vehicle, except required or permitted equipment of the vehicle, in such a manner as to obstruct or interfere with the view of the operator through the windshield, or to prevent him from having a clear and full view of the road and condition of traffic behind such vehicle
I haven’t read ALL the comments above, BUT: I was pulled over for holding a GPS/phone to MY EAR! You know, because it’s safer than LOOKING at anything–like a mounted device! I had already studied some map directions but there were a few quick turns at intersections I wanted to listen to. Why are the people who draw up laws/legislation so stupid? Oh, by the way, I live in the Bronx and this took place in New Rochelle. In 12 years in the Bronx I have NEVER been spoken to so contemptuously, condescendingly, or intimidatingly. By anyone.
Wayne P Matitngly,
Sorry to hear about your unpleasant incident. The law (as written) makes it illegal to use an electronic device while driving. Use includes listening to it while holding it to your ear. Does your car have Bluetooth? Using Bluetooth to hear the GPS directions would not be a violation of the law.
Is no one going to mention that these laws are INSANE and make zero common sense?! I was just issued a ticket for using GPS to view which way in interstate of multiple ramps at same location I had to take.
I saw the state officer slow down after passing me and thought it best to not throw down the phone so he can clearly see I was not texting & simply viewing which lane I needed to be in at that moment.
Of course it make perfect sense that if I just had it in my lap – and looking directly down, eyes off the road – versus up to view road and screen simultaneously- no that is wrong. Lap and eyes down, off the road = Okay. ZERO SENSE.
Map unfolded and blocking my view = okay.
Zero common sense with GPS directions. Look down is insane.
Not to mention please explain to me how “5 points for viewing GPS (holding a phone)” and it’s only 4 points if I were doing 75 in a 55 (20 mph over) is not an 8th amendment violation. If speeding 20 mph is = 4 pnts, then it seems excessive “punishment/fines” to me for 5 pnts for looking at a map that is electronic vs a huge piece of folded up paper.
Insanity. Zero sense. I would never have dreamt doing an action that kept my eyes on the road vs down on my lap, off the road is preferred by the law and NYS senate and assembly. Stupid. Dumb.
Thanks for sharing your views on this topic. I would expect politicians to respond that using an electronic device is dangerous and distracting. That is why it is illegal and 5 points. I do not disagree with this response.
Is it legal to have your phone mounted on the dash of a 63 passenger school bus in any position?
It is legal to mount a phone on a school bus. With that said, you should not use a cell phone while driving a school bus (or any other vehicle).
So if your phone is mounted to the dashboard, and you’re not holding or otherwise cradling it while it’s mounted, you can tap away and look at your screen and not considered “use” as far as the law is concerned. Correct? The cop would have to say he saw you holding it for the law to be applicable, right?
If you are not “holding” it, then technically you are not in violation of the VTL 1225d.
Hi, Mr. Weiss，
I was pulled over a few weeks ago as I was checking Google map on my phone while stopping for a red light. My phone was mounted, not in my hand. Officer gave me a ticket with 5 points. This happened in Queens. It sounds like I was not in violation of the law at all. I am will to pay the fine but want to have the points removed. How good a chance do I have to succeed if I were to personally appeal in court? What information should I provide to be helpful. I have very clean record, no moving tickets. Thanks for your advice!
If you fight this New York City ticket, the only outcome can be guilty (points and fine) or not guilty.
You or your NY traffic lawyer will have to appear.
The law clearly describes electronic devices as a “communication device”, connected to a data network. A GPS is a RECEIVER and does have communication capabilities and doe not fit the definition profile otherwise, people using e-cigarettes, vaporizers or even looking at a digital watch would create a violation. The cops and judges do not know the difference and allot of tickets are given unfairly.
You are mistaken. “Portable electronic device” shall is defined as any hand-held mobile telephone, personal digital assistant (PDA), handheld device with mobile data access, laptop computer, pager, broadband personal communication device, two-way messaging device, electronic game, or portable computing device.
If a mobile device is mounted on the dashboard, would it be in violation of the current law to tap the screen to answer an incoming call while stopped at a light? How might that differ from using a built in button on the steering wheel?
If a mobile device is mounted on the dashboard, it would NOT be in violation of the current law to tap the screen to answer an incoming call while stopped at a light. VTL 1225-d only prohibits using the electric device while “holding it” and while “in motion”.
Would Holding your phone while listening to GPS oral directions (not looking at it) be “use” in breach of the law?
Holding your device and listening to GPS directions is “use” under VTL 1225d.
How can a person petition against an officer ?
I have no idea what “How can a person petition against an officer?” means?
There has to be others ways??? so your telling me the only options is go to nys politicians? Figures it seems like all “legal people ” stick up for each other and make it seems like they put to help !! Lol that’s why I asked …
Luck doesn’t exists
The politicians are the ones who make the laws and are the only ones who can amend or rescind them.
I’m wondering when they make these laws can we attend ? Is there a way to petition the law? And how can gounpetition against an officer?
You’re best bet is to send your views to your local NYS politicians.